Mets Sweep Gives Team Hope

New York – A prevailing mood in the New York Mets clubhouse is that they can win and have an impact in the National League East. And after completing a three-game sweep Sunday afternoon at Citi Field over the division rival Atlanta Braves, 7-5, there is every reason to put things in another perspective.

Winning ballgames, and more than the experts predicted has put a different perspective on what is expected to be another dismal season in Flushing. This was the first time in a 50 –year history of the club when a Mets team started the season with a three- game sweep over a division rival.

At 3-0, and with the cross- town Yankees off to a 0-3 start, this is something the organization is hoping will regenerate some interest. More so, if the wins can continue in the next three games at home with the Washington Nationals, getting a good start out of the gate is what will convince fans that this may not be dismal as was expected.

“This means everything,” said Manager Terry Collins when asked about the three games against Atlanta that saw his team pitch effectively, use the long ball, and also get the timely hit. “We’ve done a lot of talk in spring training about getting ready to compete. I told those guys in the first meeting ‘you’re professional baseball players and there are expectations in this town and in this clubhouse.’”

Numerous times last season, his first, Collins reiterated about expectation but the message did not carry into wins. A second half finish saw New York finish fourth in the division with 77 wins, and then losing Jose Reyes to free agency, now with the Miami Marlins, made the outlook look more dismal for 2012.

However, Reyes, for the moment has quickly not been a topic at Citi Field. His replacement, 22-year old shortstop Ruben Tejada, had a career day Sunday with a career high four hits with two doubles, driving in two runs.

“We have to keep working hard every day,” commented Tejada. “We play hard and together as a team,” he said.

And that was a prevailing attitude of this Mets team after the season opening series sweep Sunday afternoon. They believe in themselves as a team and despite what the prognosticators say, they have no intention of making this a dismal season.

And if the Mets get good starting pitching, as they did Sunday from Jonathon Niese, Saturday from R.A. Dickey, and in the opener Thursday, five strong innings from Johan Santana, well this could become a special season. But will the pitching stay consistent? Can Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee, who start the first two games with the Nationals Monday and Tuesday, be just as good?

“You can’t ask for better than that,” said Collins about the starts that have put the Mets at 3-0 for the first time since 2007 when they won their first four. “We saw that in spring training even though our starters did not go deep. We like our rotation,” he said also referring to Gee and Pelfrey.

Niese, in particular, who signed a long term contract Saturday, struggled often last year.  At times there were doubts he could be a quality starting pitcher. The return of Santana has inspired the pitching staff, and according to guys in the clubhouse the entire roster.

“They want to compete and do what he does,” said Collins. “He creates a great atmosphere. It spreads.

Niese flirted with a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Freddie Freeman singled to right field with no outs.  He would allow four runs, two earned, seven strikeouts and two walks. He lasted two more batters after the hit by Freeman. Atlanta scored four runs in the seventh. Lucas Duda lost a ball in the sun, and Jason Howard had a two-run double.

“It would have been hard to take me out,” said Niese who had a 93 mile fastball and control that was rare last season. The Mets after 7,911 games still remain one of four teams in baseball that have never had a no-hitter pitched. “We have a staff that likes to compete with each other and that is a good thing,” said Niese.

And this start has also been attributed to a revamped bullpen. Frank Francisco closed his third consecutive game becoming the first player in franchise history to save his first three games. Prior to a Brian McCann home run in the eighth inning it was the first Mets run surrendered by the pen. In three games the pen has allowed  one earned run in 10.0 innings.

“We have to pitch,” said Collins. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have a long way to go.  All we want to do is stay competitive.”

They have come out of the gate with this good start. That is what every Mets fan needed to see, and this team believes it will continue. David Wright is hitting with authority and showing signs of his old self. Daniel Murphy picked up a couple of hits and two RBI, including a two-run double in the three-run Mets sixth.

Now they need Ike Davis to get it going as well as Jason Bay, two silent bats in the first three games. But they feel like everyone else in the Mets clubhouse. It will come.

“I’m just a little off right now, I’m not worried,” said Davis. His feeling is the hits will come and go five for his next ten, and there will be no reason for concern. “It’s only three games,” he says about going hitless in his first eleven times at the plate.

Last season that would have been a concern. But for now, with the three- game sweep coming out of the gate, there is not one player in that Mets clubhouse who will think otherwise. Winning and a different perspective of what they are capable of doing is here to stay,

Jose Thole the rookie catcher said in that clubhouse Sunday, “We have a team that can win and we will continue to do it.”  And for the first three games the Mets have certainly proved they can be competitive.

E-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Atlanta Braves, Career Day, Cross Town, Different Perspective, Dismal Season, Division Rival, Game Sweep, Hope New York, Jose Reyes, Mets Clubhouse, Mets Team, National League East, New York Mets, Professional Baseball Players, Rich Mancuso, Shortstop, Spring Training, Team Hope, Three Games, Top Story, Washington Nationals

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on April 9, 2012

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Mets Get To Mo and Win in 10th

The final three games of the cross-town New York interleague Subway Series with the Mets and Yankees centered on the shortstops. The Yankees Derek Jeter was rehabbing in Trenton for his return Monday in Cleveland. His backup, Eduardo Nunez had to sit down Sunday with a tight right hamstring after going 7-for-8 in two games with a homer and three doubles.

And then there was the Mets’ Jose Reyes who earlier was elected to start at short for the National League in the All-Star game July 12th. Diagnosed with tightness and a Grade-1 strain of his left hamstring, Reyes watched as Yankees shortstop Ramiro Pena, filling in for Nunez, made an error in the ninth that would enable the Mets to eventually score and tie their game with the Yankees.

And it was Pena, with his second error of the game with two outs that set up Jason Bay to get his fourth career walk-off hit in the 10th, as the Mets managed to avoid being swept by the Yankees with a 3-2 win with many of the 41,513 fans still in attendance at Citi Field.

It was that type of series for the Yankees and Mets with shortstop issues, and the Yankees winning the season series 4-2. Both concluded their interleague play portion of the schedule, the Yankees going 13-5, the Mets 9-9. The Yankees head to Cleveland for a brief three-game series and the Mets to the west coast for a road trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco before the All-Star break.

And they hope their starting shortstops will be available to conclude the first half of the season. “Just a little bit of a strain, I mean nothing big,” commented Reyes who sat on the bench and watched as Bay got the winning hit off Yankees losing pitcher Luis Ayala (1-2). “I know we’re going to take it one day at a time and see what happens. But it’s real good news. Today when I got up I felt even better than yesterday so that’s very good news.”

However, Mets manager Terry Collins is being cautious. Reyes, who leads baseball in hitting, hits, multi-hit games and triples, will want to play and not miss the All-Star game, his 12th. He, in essence is a leading candidate for the National League MVP and no doubt a catalyst and most valuable player for the Mets. ”The doctors did not want him to play today and we will take this one day at a time,” said Collins. The manager also said Reyes was making the five-hour trip to Los Angeles and it all depends on how his shortstop feels before making a determination for Monday.

The Yankees were 46-1 this season when leading after eight, primarily because of their bullpen and The Mets, 1-35 after eight. But that seemed to mean nothing when Mariano Rivera tried to close the door in a tight game. Prior to the ninth, Yankees starter Freddy Garcia handled the Mets for seven innings. On a full count with two outs Bay walked and went to third on a Lucas Duda single. He came home with the tying run when Ronnie Paulino got hold of a 1-2 Rivera pitch and hit the ball through the right side.

It may have been the best game for Bay as a Met. He has not been productive and missed most of last season after sustaining a concussion going after a ball and hitting an outfield wall at Dodgers Stadium. “I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs,” commented Bay about the walk and game winning hit. “It was nice, A, to be in that spot, and B, to come through. It was great.”

Coillins, in particular could have not been happier for Bay and his team. “I just said, ‘nice going’”, he said when greeting Bay after the game. “It’s nice to see this guy smile. Nobody cares more to help this team than Jason Bay does. And about his team showing resiliency, “They play, they take blows and just come back.”

The Mets broke a three game slide. The Yankees had their seven-game winning streak stopped. But there was concern for Mets starter R.A. Dickey who left after five innings due to tightness in his left buttock area. General Manager Sandy Alderson expects Dickey to make his next start, but as always with the Mets, especially after a win against the Yankees, there had to be something to calm the optimism.

“It’s a big relief,” said outfielder Carlos Beltran, regarding the news about Reyes possibly not being out for the long run. Beltran also was elected to play for the National League All-Stars and said it all about Reyes. “We depend so much on him.”

Notes: Angel Pagan went 0-for-10 in the series and let a ball get hit by Robinson Cano get by him in the 10th that went for a triple. Francisco Rodriguez was able to strand two that got the Mets to their half of the inning….It was Rivera’s fourth blown save of the season and he was also selected for his 12th All-Star team…

The Yankees trailed and tied the game in the fifth with a Robinson Cano double, the first hit off Dickey and Nick Swisher got the RBI single…The start of the game was delayed for 89 minutes as rain was in the forecast, though not one drop fell until the seventh inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, “It was a frustrating loss for us.”

Girardi complained that the delay did not give enough time for Garcia to warm up and he said it was miscommunication about the start time caused by the delay….The Yankees optioned right handed starter Ivan Nova to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre setting up the return of righty Phil Hughes who was on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. The justification, Nova would get more pitching time at Scranton because the Yankees would have no need for a six-man rotation…

The combined three-day crowd set a Citi Field attendance record of 125,575…Dickey was 5-0 in interleague starts since joining the Mets last season…Yankees got the 2-1 lead in the eighth with a Brett Gardner triple off Jason Isringhausen and sac fly RBI from Curtis Granderson.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

 

Posted under Better Than Yesterday, Cross Town, Day At A Time, Derek Jeter, Game Series, Interleague Play, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Luis Ayala, Mets, New York Mets, News Today, One Day At A Time, Ramiro Pena, Shortstops, Subway Series, Three Games, Top Story, Two Games

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on July 4, 2011

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Subway Series: Round 2, At Citi Field

New York – From those who would rather see a reduction of six games to three between the Yankees and Mets, well think twice. According to Major League baseball this cross-town series continues to be the most popular of the interleague matchups, but a proposed realignment of the leagues for next year could mean more games between the two teams.

So at Citi Field Friday evening, for the first time this season, as the calendar turned to July, there was a full house, 42,020, the largest crowd at the new ballpark in Flushing. Because the Yankees have turned it around since, that mid- May sweep in the Bronx at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. And the underachieving Mets are overachieving without David Wright and Ike Davis.

It was another Yankees win over the Mets, and both Alex Rodriguez and Jose Reyes were involved in a seventh inning play at third base that led to the ejection of Mets manager Terry Collins. Rodriquez, as it appeared, did not make the tag on a sliding Reyes. And before the game, Rodriquez said Reyes “Was the world’s greatest player.”  Yankees general manager Brian Cashman would say that his second baseman, Robinson Cano “is the best player on the field.”

Comments like that always epitomized the six- game series with the Yankees and Mets, though it used to come from the fans. The Yankees have their history and record, and still have to make their point to the Mets fans who await their day as the number one baseball team in New York. Truth is, Reyes and Cano, are two of the premiere stars in the game from the Dominican Republic. Reyes, though, could be the most exciting player in the game because the numbers tell the story, and his two hits Friday night extended his Major League lead in multi-game hits with 43 and leads baseball in hitting with a .352 average…

Mariano Rivera comes out of the Yankees pen in the ninth without the entrance of” Sandman” but the ovation sounded more like an entrance coming out of the pen at Yankee Stadium…. Interesting at bat in the inning as Reyes batted from the right side against Rivera as the second batter in the inning and grounded out to A-Rod …

Rodriguez gets a 400-foot double to straight away center in the eighth inning, would have been a home run in the Bronx or another ballpark that gave the Yankees a 5-1 lead…And after that double, it was all Yankees fans over taking the home crowd faithful ones of the Mets…

And as Mets radio voice Wayne Hagin said, “Strange subway series without Derek Jeter and David Wright,” meaning two prominent faces of this series and New York baseball are out of the lineup due to injuries…   Collins said, “Today we did not get our two-out hits.” That was part of the success on the recent Mets road trip where they scored a team record 46- runs in four games…

In case you are counting before game two of the series, televised on Fox Saturday afternoon, The Yankees lead the Mets 5-2 in games at Citi Field, have a regular season winning advantage 48-35, and are 3-1 in the four games and can clinch the season series with a win Saturday…

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Alex Rodriguez, Baseball Team, Boston Red Sox, Cross Town, David Wright, Field Comments, Game Hits, Game Series, General Manager Brian Cashman, Jose Reyes, Major League Baseball, Mariano Rivera, Mets Fans, Multi Game, New York Mets, Rich Mancuso, Second Baseman, Seventh Inning, Six Games, Subway Series, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on July 2, 2011

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Mets Sweep Nats and head to the Bronx behind Dillon Gee

New York – New York Mets right hander Dillon Gee has seen nothing but success when he faces the Washington Nationals. In his Major League debut last September 7th at Nationals Park Gee got his first career win and allowed one run in 7.0 innings. Back then he flirted with a no-hitter until Willie Harris, now his current teammate, hit a home run in the sixth.

In his second career start against the Nationals at Citi Field Thursday afternoon, Gee once again flirted with a no-hitter. He held Washington hitless for 5.2 innings, the second time in 10 career starts Gee has gone into the sixth inning with a no-hitter against Washington.

And the only run he needed was a Justin Turner RBI single in the fourth inning, one that stood up as the Mets swept a brief two-game series, 1-0 and now head to the Bronx for three games against the cross-town New York Yankees and the start of interleague play.

Francisco Rodriquez converted his 14th straight save in 15  tries and extended his scoreless innings streak to 18.0 innings, despite giving up a one-out double to Laynce Nix in the ninth inning. Gee (3-0) gave up two hits in 7 2/3 innings in striking out three and giving up three walks.

“The whole mindset of this game was to come in and attack hitters,’ said Gee about his performance. The Mets shut out the Nationals for the second straight game coming off a 3-0 win in the opening game Tuesday night. It was New York’s first consecutive shutouts since August 12 and 13 of last season against Colorado and Philadelphia.

Gee also got some help on the field that helped preserve the shutout. Turner, playing third for the injured David Wright leaned over the railing to grab a foul pop, Jason Bay made a sliding catch in left and Joe Reyes charged a ball for an out that could have led to a hit.

“I could have finished it if I had to,” said Gee. “I saw it like in the fourth or fifth,” he said about giving up no hits until that point. It is one of the hardest things to do in baseball but it wasn’t on my mind,” he said.

New York won for the ninth time in their last 13 games and since starting the season 5-13, they are 16-9 and the pitching staff has compiled a 2.96 ERA. Gee appears to have solidified a spot in the rotation and manager Terry Collins said, “He pitched his brains out and I was not going to let him lose this game.

The emphasis of course now for the Mets is the first of six games against the Yankees. Three in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium starting Friday evening and three more at Citi Field in early July. Though the novelty of this series has run its course, those in the Mets clubhouse, who have in the past played in the series still believe it has intensity.

More so for the fans, and maybe not the players, as the Mets feel confident they are going into Yankee Stadium with momentum and a winning formula. While the Yankees have been struggling, amid some controversy, they are still the New York baseball team that is always favored to overtake the Mets in the interleague series.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said the Mets Jason Bay about the Yankees series. Bay had a season high three-hits in the win Thursday which for now ended talk about Collins dropping him from cleanup to a lower spot in the lineup. “It’s fun to be in that atmosphere,” he said.

Collins will be managing a game against the Yankees for the first time since 1999 when he was with the Anaheim Angels. “This is a good way to come in,” he said about going to the Bronx. “Back-to back shutouts. It’s going to be fun tomorrow.”

Fernando Martinez is expected to come off the bench and slotted in the designated hitter spot in the Bronx. R.A. Dickey (1-5) opens the series Friday night, Chris Capuano (3-4) gets the ball in the Saturday night Fox Network game, and Mike Pelfrey (3-3) closes the series Sunday afternoon.

“It’s just another series for us,” said Mets catcher Josh Thole. But to Pelfrey, it is another series of importance, more so for the fans. “It’s either the Yankees or the Mets and it’s fun” stated Pelfrey.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

 

Posted under Consecutive Shutouts, Cross Town, David Wright, Francisco Rodriquez, Game Series, Jason Bay, Last September, League Debut, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Ninth Inning, Rich Mancuso, Right Hander, Scoreless Innings Streak, Sixth Inning, Straight Game, Three Games, Top Story, Washington Nationals

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on May 20, 2011

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Alderson Introduced As New Mets GM

Sandy Alderson had an auspicious debut as the new General Manager of the New York Mets Friday afternoon at Citi Field. There was the presence of a baseball veteran, knowledge and experience that obviously made an impression to Mets ownership during the interview process.

And, Alderson, 62, who at one time built the Oakland Athletics teams that played in three consecutive World Series  from 1988-1990, and won the championship in 1989, may be what the Mets need. The immediate impact to slowly begin the process of getting the Mets back to playing baseball in October, though that may take some time.

Alderson is not a new kid on the block and has his own style. That was addressed when the question was asked about how his style would be different from his predecessor Omar Minaya.  “One of the things I like about a job like this is you have to act,” said Alderson.

And act he will. With financial flexibility, to make the Mets a contender again and not being the second team in town to the New York Yankees. Though during the course of his introduction to New York, there was no mention of the cross-town Yankees. Just a commitment to be in the free agent market every year, and not immediately in 2011

He stressed more than once about the job being fun, that baseball was entertainment, and not like Minaya, constantly talked about his job being, a  collaborative effort with ownership, the players and scouting departments.

“All the elements are here, a great area to be, and great fans,” said Alderson about why he took on the opportunity of a four-year contract through 2014 with a club option for 2015.

There is a lot of work to be done from financial flexibility, player personnel, to the hiring of a new manager. There are some candidates to succeed Jerry Manuel that Alderson has in mind. But the managerial situation will begin in a few days so Alderson can have one in place for the upcoming GM and winter meetings that plans a process for the upcoming season.

There is optimism at Citi Field as a new regime takes over. And that word of Collaboration that was so often mentioned will begin in the front office. Alderson saw that happen in his four years as CEO of the San Diego Padres where he led them to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2005 and 2006 and recently working as a special consultant to the Commissioner of Baseball for Latin America.

Alderson, the 13th GM in franchise history reminds many of Frank Cashen, the Mets Hall of Fame inductee who reshaped the organization and built a championship team in 1986. On Friday that renewed spirit of seeing those days again in Flushing Queens came when Alderson spoke.

But every Mets fan knows hope has always been eternal. Since the Cashen years there have been three close opportunities at bringing the prized trophy home. More so, a 2000 Subway World Series loss to the Yankees when Steve Phillips was the GM, and the 2006 NLCS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals under Minaya, a series that every Mets fan refuses to forget.

Will Alderson succeed in what Omar Minaya could not do the past few years?  “There is hope now,” said longtime Mets season ticket holder Eddie Lopez who sat at a table in back of the Caesars Club. “Minaya was around to long and he (Alderson) brings something to the table,” he said.

Lopez was one of the many season ticket holders that were invited to the welcome party because the Mets fan base is so important. The new ballpark, the fans, something also that Alderson reiterated in his remarks that was another reason why he took the job.

“Getting back to being a general manager was something I wanted to do under the right circumstances,” he said.  So whatever Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon said to Alderson during the interview process had to be the right circumstance.

It did not work under Minaya, even though he had the liberty to spend money. But you get the feeling there will be no favoritism played, no favors granted to player agents that Minaya had close ties with. The roster comprised from trades and a restructured scouting department that brings in homegrown talent.

Will there be an immediate turnaround?  It will be difficult turning it around in 2011 because the Mets are committed to $130 million in payroll.  Alderson won’t have the liberty to spend but plenty of roster decisions to address. Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, who get some of that payroll, and what to do with the bad image and contract of closer Francisco Rodriquez who was recently reactivated.

Alderson is just settling in. He would not provide much as to who or what for 2011, again hiring a manager he can work with is the first priority. But what every Mets fan wants to know, are our troubles and agonizing days of losing coming to an end?

Time will tell as there is hope. Jeff and Fred Wilpon did not have that concerned look, like they did a day after the season ended three weeks ago when they relieved Minaya and did not bring Manuel back.

This time the Mets hierarchy got it right bringing Alderson to New York.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Auspicious Debut, Club Option, Collaborative Effort, Consecutive World Series, Contender, Cross Town, Financial Flexibility, Free Agent Market, Friday Afternoon, Kid On The Block, Mets Gm, New Kid On The Block, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Omar Minaya, Predecessor, Sandy Alderson, Top Story, Winter Meetings, World Series

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on October 30, 2010

Mets Give The Phils Another Blanking

New York – Tuesday evening it was R.A. Dickey and Raul Valdes shutting out the Philadelphia Phillies 8-0.  Last night at Citi Field it was Left hander Hisanori Takahashi, Jenrry Mejia and Ryota Igarashi shutting down the Phils again 5-0.  Who would have wondered with two thirds of the Mets starting rotation missing that this was possible.

“He’s a great pitcher with great instincts,” said Mets Manager Jerry Manuel about Takahaski who threw six scoreless innings, He gave up five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out six.  Combined with Dickey throwing six shut out innings against the Phillies, suddenly Manuel has two reliable starters that follow Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey.

And afterwards, Manuel would commit. The 35-year old Takahaski who spent a good part of his career in Japan, has earned a spot in the rotation. “To have a performance such as that especially, against two very good teams, elite teams, it lengthens the opportunity for him,” said Manuel. “He had great command of his pitches.”

Takahaski (4-1) threw six scoreless innings in his big league debut as a starter against the cross-town Yankees last Friday giving up five hits in a no decision. Signed in the off season to a free agent deal, he had 16 relief appearances after 202 career starts in Japan,

“I know my pitching style and I prefer to do the same here,” said Takahaski through a translator. He apparently knows the scouting reports getting Phillies home run hitter Ryan Howard to swing at a third strike on a changeup, and credited Rod Barajas with a good game plan.

But with Oliver Perez regulated to the bullpen, and with Jonathon Niese and John Maine disabled, Takahaski was granted the opportunity. It has become a welcome reprieve for Manuel. Suddenly the Mets, with another four-game wining streak have seen their starters have a Major League leading 1.37 ERA in their last nine games

Dickey has been a sudden surprise also. And then there is Jose Reyes, always a catalyst in the lineup who has resembled the Reyes of old. The legs are strong again and he is taking the extra base.  He made a sparkling play in the fourth inning reaching out and retiring former teammate Brian Schneider on a pop out in the fifth inning

And Reyes for the first time this season, leading off in the third inning hit the ball over the fence to right field off  Phils starter and loser Joe Blanton (1-3) that gave the Mets a 2-0 lead. “We’re playing good baseball,” said Manuel. “Jose Reyes is igniting the club”

“Right now, when I get on base two or thee times I feel like myself, said Reyes who went 2-for-4 and has four consecutive multi-hit games. Since returning to the leadoff spot on May 15th, Reyes is hitting .300 with nine runs scored, a double, one triple, a home run and five runs batted in.

The shutouts and new pitching rotation, along with Reyes, and timely hitting has given the Mets new life. They once again climbed a game over .500 (24-23) and there is no talk of Manuel losing his job.  “Quite an accomplishment of using two starters we hadn’t used in spring training,” said Manuel.

The Mets look for the sweep against the Phillies Thursday evening with Pelfrey taking the mound for New York, looking for his sixth win. Then it is off to Milwaukee and San Diego, but the good play has to continue away from Citi Field as the Mets lead baseball with 18 home wins.

Manuel and the Mets have to get some wins away from Citi Field, especially now with Reyes playing, like himself. Added to the equation is Takahashi, getting another well deserved start now that he is in the rotation.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring 786@aol.com

Posted under Changeup, Cross Town, Elite Teams, Game Plan, Good Game, Home Run Hitter, Johan Santana, Jonathon Niese, Jose Reyes, League Debut, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Relief Appearances, Rod Barajas, Ryan Howard, Ryota, Scoreless Innings, Scouting Reports, Sudden Surprise, Top Story, Welcome Reprieve

Mets Win Round One Against Yankees

New York – Frankie Rodriquez always had the best of Alex Rodriguez when he was a closer for the Angels in the American League. And with drama unfolding in the ninth inning at Citi Field Sunday evening, Frankie, now a closer for the New York Mets got the best of A-Rod again.

This time it was K-Rod working hard on the mound and A-Rod swinging for a third strike with two runners on. The Mets and Johan Santana took the rubber game of a three-game series over the cross-town Yankees 6-4, in the first installment of their inter league Subway Series  The two teams will play again the Bronx at Yankee Stadium June 18-20.

The other battle on the mound this time went to Santana (4-2) who was previously bested twice by Yankees starter CC Sabathia (4-3) when the two opposed each other in the American League. Santana was better going 7 2/3 innings on six hits, striking out five.

Santana got early run support aided by the two home runs from Jason Bay, a two run shot to left in the second inning, and another solo shot to right in the fifth that put the Mets up 5-0, the only home runs hit in the three games. It was the 14th multi home run game for Bay in his career The Bay home runs tied for the least amount hit since this series started back in 1997.

The Yankees, now six games back of Tama Bay in the AL East once again struggled at the plate, while the Mets in the last two games found a way to get runners home, going 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position that helped Santana.

“Right now we are struggling a little offensively,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. His team is without starting catcher Jorge Posada and outfielder Curtis Granderson. And first baseman Mark Teixiera continues to struggle, though going 2-for 4 and another strike out, including an infield hit that set the stage for K-Rod against A-Rod in the ninth

“We put the best guys out there that we feel can win every night,” said Girardi when asked about contemplating any lineup changes. The Yankees continue this road trip to Minnesota for three games starting Tuesday before returning home to the Bronx for a holiday weekend series against Cleveland.

“It’s a Frustrating week for us going 2 and 5 this week, not what we wanted,” said Girardi. He added, “The sun will come up tomorrow. We go to Minnesota and try and get some wins.”

For the Mets, who seemed to find a way to get runners home in the three-game series there is a day off Monday and then a three- game home series with the first place Philadelphia Phillies.” I think what we have to do is continue to play good baseball,” said Manager Jerry Manuel. “We have had some things obviously surrounding us especially the pitching staff.”

Manuel was referring to two-thirds of his pitching rotation. Oliver Perez is regulated to bullpen duty, with John Maine and Jonathon Niese on the disabled list. “It doesn’t affect us but you still have to play on the field,” he said.

Will the momentum continue for the Mets with the Phillies coming to town? “It’s more of a carry over effect of beating a good team,” said Bay regarding the Mets taking their first rubber game series of the season.

Email Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Alex Rodriguez, Cc Sabathia, Cross Town, Curtis Granderson, First Baseman, Game Series, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Jorge Posada, Mark Teixiera, New York Mets, Rodriquez, Rubber Game, Run Game, Six Games, Subway Series, Third Strike, Three Games, Top Story, Yankee Stadium, Yankees New York

Wright, Bay Come Through For Mets

New York – Maybe it is the adrenalin of the New York Mets playing the cross-town Yankees, or the importance of winning inter-league games. Whatever it is, the Mets did something against the Yankees they have not accomplished so far this season scoring all of their runs on two out hits Saturday evening.

The Yankees trailed all game, losing 5-3, and the Mets evened the first installment of the 2010 Subway Series a game apiece. The rubber game is Sunday evening with CC Sabathia taking the mound for the Yankees opposing the Mets Johan Santana.

Mike Pelfrey (6-1) got his sixth win of the season, the earliest he reached that many wins and the Mets also bested Yankees starter Phil Hughes (5-1) who trailed 2-0 after the first inning, the largest deficit the right hander has confronted this season. A good night for the Mets and their manager Jerry Manuel that they hope will continue to carry over.

“I feel very good about big Mike,” said Mets Manuel about his starter. “He has really evolved and matured into a solid, solid pitcher.” So solid that Pelfrey contributed to the Yankees to one run on six hits. The Yankees stranded 13 runners and came into the game leading the American League in batting and slugging percentage,

With runners in scoring position the Mets went 5-for- 12 and go their production from their three, four, five and six hitters in the lineup. That was another change for the struggling Mets Angel Pagan went 2-for-3, so did David Wright who has been struggling.

Instead it was Pelfrey, the rookie Jenrry Mejia, and closer Frankie Rodriquez getting a five-out save that stopped the also struggling Yankees. “I feel terrible,” said the Yankees Mark Teixeira who went 0-4 with three strikeouts, now 1-for-20 in his last five games.

Not terrible for the Mets as they snapped a five game losing streak to the Yankees dating back to last June 14th. Bay tied his career high with four hits and Wright, went 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position after coming into the game 2-for- 17 in clutch situations.

“Two out RBI’s” are a killer,” commented Bay. “And then just to try and tack on one here, one there, it ended up we needed those runs at the end.” And the Mets needed those extra runs as the Yankees tacked on two more in the eighth. Manuel called on his closer, Rodriquez, who got his seventh save of the season.

“He did his job,” said Manuel about K-Rod as the Mets once again went to their over used bullpen. “Some people get nervous but I like it instead of coming out to get two outs,” said Rodriquez who struck out his counter part Alex in the ninth. He struck out Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli to end the game.

And for the Yankees, a team looking to find themselves with numerous injuries, it is back to the drawing board and trying to salvage the final game in this first set of games against their rivals from Flushing.

“Its baseball,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi regarding the inability of his team to get runners across the plate. “You are going to go through that as hitters. It’s the reality of the game,” he said.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Cc Sabathia, Cross Town, David Wright, First Installment, Five Games, Game Losing Streak, Johan Santana, League Games, Mark Teixeira, Mejia, Mets New York, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Phil Hughes, Right Hander, Rodriquez, Rubber Game, Slugging Percentage, Subway Series, Th Bay, Top Story

Jerry’s Last (Home) Stand?

FLUSHING, NY – There really wasn’t any surprises in last night’s 2-1 Yankee win to open the 2010 Subway Series.

The Mets didn’t hit, making Javier Vazquez look like a star, while the Yankees were baffled by Hisanori Takahashi, a pitcher they never saw before.

Of course, the game was decided on an error on the Mets second baseman. This time it wasn’t Luis Castillo, but Alex Cora who threw away a tailored made double play ball, which set up Kevin Russo’s game winning double.

And when the Mets did rally against Mariano Rivera, struggling David Wright meekly grounded to second on the first pitch he saw with the tying run on second base.

“He’s a guy that you don’t want to try to work the count against because he’s got great stuff,” Wright said, but the fact remains, the Mets wasted a golden opportunity to silence some of their detractors by beating a Yankees on their own turf.

Instead the Mets decided to emulate the 2000 Mets who were honored before the game by losing this heartbreaker to third cross town rivals.

“If you’ve seen the ballgames we’ve lost, they have all been close,” said center fielder Angel Pagan, one of the few Mets who hasn’t struggled this season. “That has given us the confidence to keep fighting.”

The fight, though, may be over soon for manager Jerry Manuel. Although unfair, the writing is starting to show on the wall. Say a 1-5 home stand against the Yankees and Phillies may be enough to jettison the Mets embattled leader. Although unfair, because not even John McGraw could win with this cast of characters, the signs are there.

First you have John Maine, who started a public war with his manager for being taken out after five pitches on Thursday. Although it was the correct move, and with his track record over the last few years, Maine should be thankful he’s still wearing a major league uniform, Manuel status has been taken into question.

The night before, David Wright wondered why he was benched against Livan Hernandez, a pitcher he’s owned in the past and last Monday Jeff Francoeur had to take a seat with his parents in attendance down in Atlanta.

Sure, both Wright and Francoeur could have used the rest, but you have to wonder about the timing. Did it have to be in Atlanta for Francoeur? Could Wright have another day off?

All of this comes back to Manuel. Omar Minaya went on record yesterday saying the Yankee series won’t determine his manager’s fate, but a winless or even a 1-5 home stand with a griping clubhouse will make it tough for Manuel to keep his job.

Yet, if it is time for Manuel to go, then you have to wonder how the Mets will handle the situation. Firings are not the Mets strong point, just look at Tony Bernazard last year and Willie Randolph back in 2008.

Yet, after this home stand, it will be a Friday and the Mets will be on the road – two factors the Mets look for when they relieve their manager – but it will also put the team in Milwaukee where Randolph will be sitting in the opposing dugout, so it never comes easy.

But something will need to be done soon or 2010 will go down as another lost season.

Posted under Alex Cora, Ballgames, Center Fielder, Correct Move, Cross Town, David Wright, Double Play, Golden Opportunity, Great Stuff, Heartbreaker, Javier Vazquez, Joe Mcdonald, John Mcgraw, Look Like A Star, Luis Castillo, Mariano Rivera, New York Mets, Play Ball, Public War, Second Baseman, Subway Series, Top Story, Town Rivals