Sports Beat: “Mets pay Bay to go away”

Just as the fall general manager meetings got under way in the Palm Springs area, the Mets announced that they were going to buy the remaining year on outfielder Jason Bay’s contract. It’s estimated that the overall cost to the team is in the range of $21 million.

It’s debatable which expensive free agent signing was more disastrous for the Mets: the three year, $36 million contract given to pitcher Oliver Perez or the four-year, $66 million pact with Bay.

It should be pointed out that while there was some concern over Oliver Perez’s work ethic, Jason Bay literally, to borrow a phrase that Mitt Romney used in his concession speech, left it all on the field as he suffered concussions by running into walls and fences chasing after long fly balls as well as getting nailed by a fastball into his batting helmet.

In a sport where too many players find creative ways to hide from the media before and after games, the gentlemanly Jason was always available to the press and was honest about his failings to a fault.

What I don’t understand is why the Mets, who loathe to spend money even after their finances are allegedly no longer an issue, were in such a hurry to cut a severance deal at this time. It’s not as if they needed his slot on the forty-man roster to sign a big free agent such as Josh Hamilton. Given his intensity to succeed, combined with the fact that he is very respected by his teammates, what would have been the harm of having him report to spring training and letting him compete for a spot on the team? The Mets would have everything to gain, and nothing that I can see, to lose.

Mets fans are not the only ones who are upset with the team’s rudderless direction. Modell’s CEO Mitch Modell was one of the many movers and shakers who attended last week’s Sports Business Journal’s annual Sports & Media Technology conference at the Marriott Marquis. I asked Mitch if the Mets’ penny-pinching ways would affect the amount of team paraphernalia that his stores would be ordering for 2013. “Absolutely! People want to by merchandise associated with winning teams and athletes. There has been a decline in the sales of Mets apparel over the last few years,” Modell said.

Stephanie McMahon, the vice president of creative development of World Wrestling Entertainment, was interviewed by Sports Business Journal editor Abe Madkour at the SBJ SMT conference. Abe asked her the secret for the WWE’s incredible popularity. “We provide great action, and yes, the outcomes are scripted. You can quote me on that!” Stephanie replied as the audience loudly chuckled. It’s hard to believe that for generations wrestling promoters steadfastly refused to admit that “it was fixed” the way magicians fanatically guard their secrets.

“I’m incredibly proud of her. She was trying to become the first female senator from Connecticut,” Stephanie said when Abe Madkour asked her reaction to her mom’s (Linda McMahon) defeat to Chris Murphy for Joe Lieberman’s seat.

She added that the WWE is trying to launch a subscription cable television network similar to those of HBO and Showtime. “We’ll offer viewers premium events that are normally shown on the traditional per-per-view as well as vintage wrestling clips from our deep library.”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was in town Friday night as the Knicks hosted his team. Cuban is the CEO of AXS TV (pronounced “Access”) which was the former HD Net, the very first 24-hour high definition cable network, until it was re-branded this past July. Cuban is understandably frustrated that Time Warner Cable has not seen fit to add AXS to its channel lineup since it offers such diverse programming as “Dan Rather Reports,” mixed martial arts matches, repeat episodes of one-time broadcast network staples as “JAG” and “Cheers,” as well as live concert broadcasts. It took the NFL Network ten years until Time Warner Cable broke down and allowed them to showcase their wares. Don’t give up hope, Mark.

I am not sure if this will cheer you up if you’ve had to wait in long gas lines, but the Knicks players share your pain. “I had to wait at a gas station for well over an hour in Westchester,” said rookie Knicks forward Chris Copeland. Center Tyson Chandler added that most of the Knicks are carpooling.

It was not a happy homecoming last Sunday for onetime Forest Hills High School and St. John’s University star Mo Harkless  was held scoreless and played shoddy defense in ten minutes of court time as his current team, the Orlando Magic, fell to the Brooklyn  Nets, 82-74.

It has been documented that nearly $2 billion was spent on the recently concluded presidential campaign. “Presidential candidates should be like NASCAR drivers and be made to wear their sponsors’ corporate logos on their suits,” cracked Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson who netted about 1% of the popular vote with a bare bones campaign.

A number of former and current athletes made appearances at the annual Starlight Foundation fund-raiser at Madison Square Garden last Monday night. The Starlight Foundation raises funds to entertain chronically ill children as well as helping their families cope with the related stresses.

It has not been the most pleasant of autumns of for onetime Rangers legendary enforcer Nick Fotiu. Like most hockey fans and former players, he has been frustrated by the National Hockey League lockout. What’s truly upsetting Fotiu, a Staten Island native, is the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy that has badly hurt the lives of lifelong friends. “I hope that they rebuild the South Beach boardwalk and the businesses along Hylan Boulevard as soon as possible,” said Fotiu at the Starlight event.

Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson agreed that the Jets were lucky to have a bye week right after Hurricane Sandy hit since many of his teammates were dealing with flooding and electric power issues in their homes. Unfortunately for Wilkerson and the Jets, the time off did not reverse their sagging playoff fortunes as they appeared sleepy in Seattle, losing to the Seahawks last Sunday by a score of 28-7.

Following yet another dreary game from Gang Green, fearless Jets Confidential publisher Dan Leberfeld, asked Jets head coach Rex Ryan in a booming voice at his press conference broadcast on SNY, “Why is there this fatal attraction with Mark Sanchez?” Rex sheepishly replied for the millionth time, “I believe that he gives our team the best chance of victory.” The Jets head coach however could offer no substantial proof why this was so to Dan.

Carli Lloyd and Heather O’Reilly, two of the stars on the Olympic gold medal-winning women’s soccer team, lent their support to the Starlight Foundation as well. Both players were hopeful that a successful American women’s soccer league can be formed but do not want to repeat the mistakes made by the first women’s league, the financially-strapped  WUSA, that was hastily formed after the US National Team won the 1999 Women’s World Cup.

A lot has been written about the cancellation of the NYC Marathon, and the controversy caused by Mayor Bloomberg’s reluctance to do so in a timely manner. What has been understandably overlooked is that the NYC Marathon has long been a key time for running shoe manufacturers to showcase their newest models.

New Balance, which makes all of their shoes in the USA, debuted the 860v3. The company boasts that the 860v3 contains an upper made of material known as NuFoam that is biodegradable.

What is terrific about the running shoe business is that it gives the little guys a chance to compete with the big boys, something that is a lot harder in the world of basketball shoes. Fox Head’s accurately named Feather Lite is a running shoe that feels like a house slipper. Spira Footwear’s Stinger II is the latest model from the company that put metal springs in the heels of its shoes much to the consternation of marathon body-sanctioning bodies who ban runners from wearing Spira. Think of them as sneakers on steroids. Brooks Running’s humorously named “Beast” shoe has an equally humorously-named cushion, the “Caterpillar Crash Pad,” that purports to reduce stress when feet hit the pavement.

The New York Chocolate Show held last weekend at the Metropolitan Pavilion is understandably one of New York City’s most popular consumer shows. When most think of chocolate, iconic brands as Hershey’s and Nestle’s come to mind. Serious chocolate aficionados will scoff however at their mass produced products.

Contrary to popular belief, most chocolate is not sweet. The higher the pure cocoa content, the more bitter the taste. Another myth is that chocolate does not have any medicinal benefits.  Gnosis  Chocolates, whose headquarters are located in Long Island City, as well as  Gainesville-based Reserveage, make chocolate bars with high cocoa concentrations that are chock full of heart-healthy anti-oxidants and provide energy. You can purchase them at Whole Foods and online of course.

Avon is arguably the most famous brand name in the world of fragrances and skin care products. The term “Avon Lady” referred both to the company’s sales force and its main consumer. These days Avon is targeting men as much as does women. Two of Avon’s cologne lines, Driven and Unplugged, feature Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and rock star Jon Bon Jovi as spokesman. The company is now expanding into watches as it has licenses from both the NFL and the NBA. Avon is hoping that its line of Knicks, Nets, Giants and Jets watches that have alist price of around $40 will be popular with consumers looking for holiday stocking stuffers.

Major League Soccer has a weird playoff system. When the New York Red Bulls played DC United, it was not a normal best two of three matches. It was a two game playoff with the winner decided by which team scored the most goals over the two games. The fist game resulted in a 1-1 tie while the second, played at Red Bull Stadium last Thursday, saw DC win by that all too typical 1-0 soccer score. As usual, the Red Bulls are a day late and a dollar short.

My colleague Rich Mancuso will be part of the talent taking part in the 12-hour Hurricane Sandy relief radiothon this Saturday, November 17, on one of our area’s most popular Internet radio stations, www.inthemixxradio.com

Posted under Batting Helmet, Fastball, Fly Balls, Jason Bay, Lloyd Carroll, Man Roster, Marriott Marquis, Media Technology, Mets Fans, Mitt Romney, Movers And Shakers, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, Outfielder, Palm Springs Area, Running Into Walls, S Sports, Sports Business Journal, Top Story, Work Ethic

Bay Goes Bye-Bye

It is fitting though that Bay ends his Met career this way, literally getting a severance package, much in the same way Sandy Alderson ate the contracts of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo.  In a lot of way Bay’s two tenures as Met property represents all that has gone wrong with this franchise since Mike Piazza skied out to Bernie Williams to end the 2000 World Series.

As an Expo prospect he is gobbled up by one of Steve Phillips’ classic assembling spare parts deal for infielder Lou Collier in March of 2002.  In July, he is packaged in the Bobby Jones to San Diego trade in another classic “Steve Phillips love stockpiling relievers” transaction.  Which was probably for the best, would Bay have blossomed here a few years later with Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltran around?  Possibly, but in 2002 the Mets, and Phillips, were clearly in the mindset of retooling on the fly and going after anyone that had a bit of value to them.  So clearly anyone with potential, save for the true gems of the organization (save for a certain highly touted pitcher in August of 2004), could be the object of a trade for someone of either major league talent, or AAAA talent to fill out the Met roster.

Interestingly enough, Jason Bay wound up being traded along with Oliver Perez over a year later as the Padres picked up Brian Giles from the Pirates.  With the Pirates of course Bay blossomed, winning the NL Rookie of The Year in 2004 and being selected to the NL All-Star Team in 2005.  In the meantime, the Mets weren’t making fans feeling like Bay was “the one that got away” as offensive production, specifically from the outfield, was pretty much set with Carlos Beltran.  While yes having Bay offsetting the decline of Cliff Floyd and having an ancient Moises Alou around, would have helped, not having his production was not the reason for the Mets to lose the 2006 NLCS or collapse in 2007 and 2008.

Moving on, Bay would be part of the three team trade that saw Manny Ramirez sent to LA, and Bay to Boston.  Perhaps it was the band box that is Fenway Park that further inflated Bay’s offensive production in the 2009 season, but the free agent to be was considered to be one of the big ticket items heading into the winter of 2009.  And so Jason Bay becomes a shining example of Omar Minaya’s flawed way of roster building.  A 5 year, back loaded deal that was sure to be a headache if things went south in a hurry.

This was a staple of Minaya’s big ticket moves and one that consistently proves how flawed Minaya was as a general manager.  While yes, the Mets needed a big bat, but the Mets were moving into a ballpark that was already being perceived as a hard place to play for a slugger.  Still, the deal would be made, and while injuries plagued Bay’s 2010 season, it was clear that Bay’s offensive numbers were inflated a bit by playing in more offensively friendly ballparks.

And so after three rather underwhelming seasons, and apparently not much of a trade market for his services; the Mets have decided to cut their ties with Jason Bay, making him an unconditional free agent.  Of course in an effort to provide the Mets with roster budget flexibility, the money owned for the remaining two years of Bay’s contract ($21 million) is being deferred over a short period of time.  While it would have been advantageous to see if Bay could have produced in Spring Training, and then early in 2013 and turn him around (even though it was that kind of thinking that both got Bay to and from the Met organization back in 2002), it is probably for the best, and just like the eating of the Castillo and Perez deals, a sign that the Met current regime doesn’t like mistakes to linger more than they have to.

Going forward, well there really isn’t much to discuss as the middle of the road, between 65-70 wins outlook for 2013 seems very much like the outlook for 2012.  While from all accounts Jason Bay is a good guy, but who knows if his lack of production was affecting the clubhouse, sometimes slumps can be contagious.  And it is better to have a middle of the road season with a group of youngsters vying for outfield spots (and hoping Lucas Duda learns to have someone else move furniture for him) rather than a veteran looking to rebound from disastrous seasons.

Posted under Bernie Williams, Brian Giles, Carlos Beltran, Cliff Floyd, Infielder, Jason Bay, Lou Collier, Luis Castillo, Mike Piazza, Moises Alou, New York Mets, Nl All Star Team, Nl Rookie Of The Year, Offensive Production, Sandy Alderson, Severance Package, Steve Phillips, Top Story, True Gems

Reyes return overshadowed by Mets injuries and Johan Santana

New York – Jose Reyes was supposed to be the storyline at Citi Field Tuesday evening returning to New York for the first time since signing the lucrative off-season deal with the Miami Marlins. However, that was overshadowed by the outstanding pitching of Johan Santana and the Mets placing outfielder Jason Bay and starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey on the disabled list.

Reyes would go hitless in four appearances at the plate. It was due to the sharp pitching of Santana who went 6.2 innings, striking out eleven Marlins. But once again, Santana, in his fourth outing failed to get run support.

He did not figure in the decision as the Mets got a deciding run in the eighth inning and won the first game of a three-game series, 2-1.

Reyes had a pre game meeting with the media in the Marlins dugout. He was excited to be back in New York, met with his old teammates, and the Mets paid tribute to one of their former franchise players with a brief tribute on the video board before the first pitch.

As expected the small crowd that gathered to their seats gave him resounding boos, though there were those who gave him a nice welcome when they stood and cheered his name. When he stepped to the plate, for his first at bat leading off the game the displeasure of Reyes leaving for greener pastures to Miami were heard from the announced crowd of 20,192.

“It was kind of weird for me a little bit but after the third inning everything goes away and you just focus on playing baseball,” he said. Off to a slow start, Reyes would almost get an extra base hit leading off. The pitch from Santana looked like it would go out of the ballpark, but center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis made a leaping catch at the fence.

Reyes said, “It is good to get it out of the way. Tomorrow I’ll have a better idea. But it’s good to see my buddies over there. I played for them for a long time.”

However, Mets fans may never forgive the National league batting champion and homegrown product from leaving. It was a matter of another year and a few million more that that Mets did not offer to keep Reyes in a Mets uniform. He signed the $106 million, six-year contract with the Marlins, a team expected to contend and favored over the Mets in the NL East.

Santana went about his business and rebounded from his last start in Atlanta. Last week he gave up six runs in the first inning, eight overall in 4.1 innings. The fastball and changeup were sharp and he had great command. But once again he failed to get a single run of support.

Marlins starter Josh Johnson, also working on six days of rest was just as effective going 6 2-3 innings, charged with one run and three hits.

“I put that one out of the way,” he said about the loss to Atlanta. “I still have a long way to go but it is good to have an outing like this. I’m looking forward to the next one.”

He struck out two in each of the first five innings and had his most strikeouts since the 11 against the Braves on August 2, 2010. In nine previous starts against the Marlins, Santana was 6-1 with a 1.47 ERA. He gave up a one-out single in the first, and did not give up another hit until a Giancarlo Stanton two-out single in the seventh. He was removed after throwing 105 pitches.

On facing Reyes for the first time, he said, “I didn’t do anything different. Everything we do here is professional and we went about our business.”

Lucas Duda hit a tie-breaking single in the eighth that came off the finger of Marlins reliever Edward Mujica that scored the deciding run. Jon Rauch (3-0) picked up the win and Frank Francisco with a hitless ninth got his fourth save.

But the Mets win was also overshadowed by their continued bad streak of injuries. Bay, injured fielding a ball in left, in the second game of a twin bill Monday against the Giants, sustained a broken rib and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Bay will return, but the Mets will be cautious as he is once again is hindered by an injury coming after missing a significant amount of games last year.

The injury to Pelfrey is more of a concern. The right hander, without a win in three starts, was also placed on the 15-day DL with swelling of his pitching elbow. There were reports circulating at the ballpark, not confirmed, that Pelfrey would be shut down for the season and undergo Tommy John Surgery.

Mets manager Terry Collins would not confirm that report about Pelfrey as the Mets suddenly have a rash of injuries that prompted them to call up youngsters from their AAA affiliate Buffalo and Binghamton AA team.

The Reyes return to New York is over. The Mets have moved on as Ruben Tejada, the heir apparent at shortstop has assumed the role and handled the job well in the early going.

As Tejada said about Reyes, “He was a good teammate. Nothing is different. We got the win.” But the manager Terry Collins has to do without Pelfrey and Bay and that seems to have not changed for the Mets, the injuries that continue to plague this team.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring7886@aol.com

Posted under Batting Champion, Boos, Center Fielder, Citi, Displeasure, Eighth Inning, First Game, Franchise Players, Game Series, Greener Pastures, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, Marlins Dugout, Mets Fans, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Outfielder, Starting Pitcher, Top Story, Video Board

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on April 25, 2012

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Audio: Strasburg Too Much For Mets

The streak was good while it lasted. The New York Mets fell to 4-2 after a 4-0 loss to the Washington Nationals behind the strong effort of Stephen Strasburg. The Mets could take comfort from Johan Santana’s strong 5 1/3 inning effort yielding only one run, but that was not enough with Strasburg on the mound.

Here are audio highlights.

Stephen Strasburg

Terry Collins

Johan Santana

Jason Bay

Mark DeRosa

Ike Davis

Posted under 4 Mp3, Bob Trainor, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Santana Mp3, Strasburg, Top Story, Washington Nationals

This post was written by Bob Trainor on April 12, 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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Mets Feeling Izzy after 6-3 loss to Braves

New York- There was no comeback in the cards for the New York Mets (26-31) on this night as they dropped a 6-3 heartbreaker to the Atlanta Braves (32-26) on Thursday night baseball at Citi Field. New York lost for the fifth time overall, and for the fourth time on their current 10-game home stand, when leading after seven innings.

New York has gone from the slogan “You’ve got to believe” to “You never know what is going to happen.” As bad news broke for many Mets fans after the game as third baseman David Wright is expected to be out three more weeks due to the fracture in his spine.

General Manager Sandy Alderson sat in front of the Metropolitan Area reporters and broke the news, “David didn’t have any X-Rays or any additional test, but due to the nature of the original picture that we took the doctors recommended that he remain inactive from baseball action for another three weeks.” He continued by saying, “

Wright had this to say of his trip to the doctors today, “The doctors obviously know what they are doing. There is only so much you can do when a specialist says that you need to do something. I was hopeful that the healing process would have started sooner, but it was wishful thinking on my part.” He continued to say, “In the end they are looking out for my best interest, it is better that I take these next three weeks off and completely heal versus going out there and hurting myself again.”

Atlanta struck for the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning as Freddie Freeman started the frame by lacing a single to center field. Braves right fielder Joe Mather plated the first run by driving a single past Jose Reyes for the 1-0 lead.

New York answered back in the bottom of the fourth inning as Reyes would energize the team by ripping a triple (9) to center field. Carlos Beltran brought the shortstop home on a single to right field. Jason Bay worked out a walk before Daniel Murphy gave New York a 2-1 lead on a single to left field. Angel Pagan drove home the third run of a game with a single to center for the 3-1 lead.

Atlanta remained quiet with their bats until the top of the eighth inning when Met killer Chipper Jones struck for his fifth home run of the season as he lifted one to left field in the top of the eighth inning. The third baseman took a 2-2 fastball and ripped it over the left field wall to make the New York lead 3-2

Starting pitcher Jonathon Niese was able to record his seventh strike out of the game by getting rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman to swing at a fastball in the top of the eighth inning for the second out of the game. It was after that out that Manager Terry Collins made a call to the bullpen, before exiting Niese got a nice ovation from the 28, 301 in attendance.

Sadly for the Mets fans a hard hit ball by the Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez could not be fielded by Jose Reyes, which allowed the Braves to tie the game up at 3-3. Isringhausen was finally able to record the final out by getting the Atlanta right fielder Joe Mather to swing at a cutter to end the inning.

On the miscue in the infield the shortstop had this to say, “I tried to do the best that I could to make that play. I did everything I could and will do everything in my power to make that play the next time out.”

Collins made another move calling in closer Francisco Rodriguez to try to stop the bleeding. The move was unsuccessful as Atlanta turned the tables on the Mets on this night. Replacement outfielder Eric Hinske lifted a home run (6) over the right field wall to give the Braves the 4-3 lead, to open the dam of offense for the Braves.

Isringhausen and Rodriguez combined to allow four runs, three of them being earned runs tonight. Over the last 12 games Mets relievers have an ERA of 10.57

Rodriguez had this to say on his effort tonight, “I need to go out there and be more aggressive; I need to make these pitches count. I am not happy with my effort tonight at all, I didn’t get it done there are no excuses with my performance tonight.”

Left fielder Martin Prado doubled (17) to center field to set up a runner in scoring position for the ever-so-dangerous Chipper Jones. The Braves third baseman struck out swinging, to leave the stage set for catcher Brian McCann. In a surprising move the Mets decided to intentionally walk McCann to get to Freeman.

After the game the Mets skipper Terry Collins had this to say on the move, “According to the scouting reports McCann is the hottest guy on the team so you have got to get someone else to beat you aside from their hot hitters.”

Freeman made the Mets pay for that move by lacing a double (14) to left center field, giving the Braves the eventual 6-3 victory.

Niese had this to say of the tough loss, “This is a really tough loss for our team tonight; this is why baseball is a beautiful game though. It is a collective effort out there on the field every night and obviously we weren’t able to get it done.”

Atlanta had some bad news injury wise on their end as center fielder Jordan Schafer bunted a ball right into his upper lip and nose area; he was taken to a hospital for x-rays and was replaced by Hinske who had the momentum-changing homer in the top of the ninth inning.

These two teams will go at it again for Game Two on Saturday, as it is righty-versus-righty as Dillon Gee (5-0, 3.83, ERA) takes on Jair Jurrjens (7-1, 1.51 ERA). First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m.

Posted under Atlanta Braves, Baseball Action, Carlos Beltran, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Fifth Time, Healing Process, Heartbreaker, Izzy, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Mather, Mets Fans, New York Mets, Night Baseball, Sandy Alderson, Top Story

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on June 4, 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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Audio: Gee Wiz

The New York Mets pitched their second shutout in a row against the Washington Nationals, this time Dillon Gee stifled the Nats with two hist over seven innings to win 1-0. The game had some controversy in the ninth when according to the Nats Daniel Murphy came off the bag on Jayson Werth’s ground-ball, causing them to berate the umpires after the game ended.

Dillon Gee

Jason Bay

R.A. Dickey

Jim Riggleman

Livan Hernandez

Posted under Bob Trainor, Controversy, Daniel Murphy, Dillon, Game Mp3, Jason Bay, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Shutout, Top Story, Umpires, Washington Nationals, Washington Post, Wiz

This post was written by Bob Trainor on May 20, 2011

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Mets Sweep D-backs and Complete Successful Homestand

New York- So much for talk that the New York Mets could not hit the home run at Citi Field, or win many ballgames in their home park. After their 8-4   win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Easter Sunday, taking a three-game sweep, the Mets have won four consecutive games after taking the final game of the three- game series that started the stand earlier this week against the Houston Astros.

And this season high winning streak, the longest since last September 13-16 of last season, was done with good pitching and timely hitting. Plenty of two out hits and getting Jason Bay back in the lineup seemed to propel the offense. Jonathon Niese (1-3) pitched seven solid innings, snapping a six-game losing streak in the series sweep Sunday, and Mets starting pitching in the six games went 6-0 innings or more.

Plus the Mets offense produced three more home runs Sunday, two by David Wright and one from Jason Pridie. It was the first Major League round tripper for Pridie. The 27-year old center fielder was called up from Triple-A Buffalo Friday when Angel Pagan went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle.

So what has transpired in the past few days? Good pitching and hitting will win ballgames, and all of a sudden Citi Field has become home run friendly for the Mets. It has the team riding with optimism as they head for a six game trip to Washington and Philadelphia on Tuesday. And their most effective starter in the young season, Chris Young comes off the disabled list and will open game one of the series against the Nationals.

“It’s really good,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. When the Mets were 5-13 earlier in the week, and with the worst record in baseball, Collins was frustrated and concerned but said, “I promise you it will get better.” It certainly has improved because David Wright has also come around at the plate. Carlos Beltran went 9-for-23 with a home run and three RBI in six games, Ike Davis reached base four times Sunday and had three home runs, two doubles and six RBI in the six games.

In the streak New York scored 27 runs and outscored the opposition 27-10. “I think the brightest sign has been our starting pitching,” added Collins. “It’s really stepped up here and gotten us to where we need to get to. I think you see a difference in the bullpen where they can just pitch to certain guys. I think it makes everyone more comfortable.”

The pen found itself a bit when Collins used the combination of rookie Pedro Beato, the veteran Jason Isringhausen and closer Frankie Rodriguez to close the door when the Mets had the lead in three of the six games. Sunday, Collins went with D.J. Carrasco who gave up a run in the eighth, Tim Byrdak and Ryota Igarashi. He credited the use of starters Chris Capuano and R.A. Dickey out of the pen in Atlanta on the last road trip as to a reason why starters Capuano and Dickey had success this week.

“We got some really big hits, two-out hits and that makes a difference,” he said. His team scored five two-out runs in the series finale with Arizona, and the day before had six two-out runs. And Wright has been a major catalyst of the resurged offense. His second home run Sunday, fifth of the season, came with two outs and no runners in in the fourth inning that gave the Mets an 8-1 lead.

New York scored two runs off Arizona starter Armando Galarraga (3-1) in the first and four more runs off him in the third. In the past four games, Wright has home runs and he credits the starting pitching for the 4-2 homestand. “We’ll go as far as our starting pitching carries us,” he said.

His home run in the fourth was high and got over the fence on the left field line and right of the pole. “He’s tireless and when you hit the ball hard things are going to happen,” explained Collins regarding how Wright came around in the six games. “Even though I wasn’t getting good results I was getting good at bats,’ said Wright who also had a multi –home run game against the Diamondbacks last season on July 30th.

Niese retired the first six Arizona hitters in the lineup and had good command with the fastball. He gave up six hits and three runs, of which two were earned. Collins and pitching Coach Dan Warthen said he was rushing his pitches in three previous starts. “Rushing is probably a good word to describe the problems,” said Niese. “I thought I’d take my time today.”

New York also hit two more doubles.one by Beltran and at least one in 21 of their 22 games, fourth in the majors. So of the ball is not going over the fence at Citi Field, there are the extra base hits that led to runs on the homestand. The Beltran double, on his 34th birthday would lead to one of the four runs in the fourth inning and he started all six games.

Four guys can cause damage in the lineup. Collins said Beltran. Wright, Davis and Bay are capable of doing that every game and also Jose Reyes is the catalyst leading off. It has led to optimism this week. But as Collins said, “There is a long way to go. Washington plays well and the Phillies are the Phillies.”

Yes, Collins looks forward to Tuesday. Now the determination is, can the Mets continue the momentum as they leave their sudden friendly confines of Citi Field?

Notes: After the game GM Sandy Alderson said the team optioned Carrasco to Buffalo to make room for Young to make his start Tuesday….Alderson also said that for the moment Dillon Gee, who got the win Saturday in game two versus Arizona, would not be sent down, though it is not determined if he will be in the rotation with the return of Young….

And Alderson said, catcher Ronnie Paulino will stay on the disabled list as he is still sustaining problems with an oblique muscle pull while rehabbing down in Florida.

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Posted under Arizona Diamondbacks, Ballgames, Carlos Beltran, Center Fielder, Consecutive Games, David Wright, Final Game, Game Losing Streak, Game One, Game Series, Game Sweep, Game Trip, Houston Astros, Jason Bay, Left Oblique Muscle, New York Mets, Niese, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on April 26, 2011

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Audio: Mets Break Losing Streak

The Mets finally bounced out of the funk and best the Astros 9-1. Terry Collins got tossed the second batter of the game. Chris Capuano pitched seven strong innings and David Wright broke out of his slump. Jason Bay finally returned after missing most of the first month of the season with a rib cage strain.

Here are Bob Trainor’s postgame sounds:

David Wright

Chris Capuano

Jason Bay

 

Posted under Bob Trainor, David Wright, Game Chris, Jason Bay, Losing Streak, Mets, Mp3 Audio, Nbsp, New York Mets, Sounds, Top Story, Trainor

This post was written by Bob Trainor on April 22, 2011

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