Names May Have Changed But The Met Bullpen Is The Same

FLUSHING, NY – Terry Collins has now managed seven games for the New York Mets. Friday in the opening home game loss to the Washington Nationals he said frustration was not an issue this early in the season. Perhaps he is thinking differently now after an 11-inning 7-3 loss to Washington Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.

Frustration though won’t come from Collins, at least this early. But his bullpen may change the mood fast after they spoiled a terrific second outing for starting pitcher Chris Young.  After Young was removed after seven innings, giving up one run, the pen and a defensive miscue opened the door for Washington to take the rubber game.

“He got us to where we wanted to go,” said Collins about his starter who retired 15 of 21 on fly balls. “He got us to the eighth inning and we couldn’t hold it for him. It’s a shame, but he pitched great.”  But the pen did not, and that may be leading to early season frustration for the news Mets manager.

An outfield error for the second straight game also gave this one to the Nationals in the eighth inning. Lucas Duda misjudged a ball by leadoff hitter Ivan Rodriguez that led to a double. D.J. Carrasco then gave up a walk and a single. That would tie the game at 3-3.

From there the Mets pen took it from there, maybe more horrific than the pen that blew so many games in 2010 at Citi Field. And it wasn’t Frankie Rodriguez who retired one batter. It was Carrasco, Taylor Buchholz, and Blaine Boyer who added to the pen woes of the Mets that gave up 11 walks and 10 hits in 11 innings in the three-game series.

Four runs in the 11th including a tie breaking single by Rodriguez, and a three-run homer from Laynce Nix off the loser, Boyer( 0-2) made Young’s outing a short term memory. And most of the 35,157 fans left in the ballpark headed for the exits, changes were made on the roster, and Collins offered some frustration.

Duda was optioned to Triple- A Buffalo after the game and changes were made in the pen. Pitchers Ryota Igarashi and Jason Isringhausen, the 38-year old home grown Met, signed to a spring training contract will be at Citi Field Monday evening when the Mets begin a four-game series with Colorado.

“I guess you’ve got to convince them that they got to get beat by somebody swinging the bat,” commented Collins. After seven games, the (3-4) Mets have plenty of time to find a way to get the outs in late innings. Carrasco has been doing the job, so has Bobby Parnell for the most part.

Bur Collins said he avoided using Parnell after two straight appearances out of the pen.  On using Rodriguez to get an out in the eighth, Collins said, “We are not going to wear Frankie out.”  Not using K-Rod has nothing to do with the new performance clause in his revamped contract of innings pitched.

“This is the big leagues and they’ve got to be able to land some pitches,” offered Collins when asked about concern of the Mets pen not able to pick up a win for Young.  “I’m not saying you’re never going to walk somebody, but we’re walking at too high a rate right now.”

Young who spent most of last season with San Diego on the disabled list, due to a sore right shoulder, had a second outing with his new team in his first start at Citi Field, “It was a great experience to be out there,” he said about the crowd and view of the ballpark.

His shoulder felt fine on another cold day at Citi Field, but Collins opted for his pen, going to Carrasco, after Young threw 108 pitches. “You have to have a short memory and it’s something to build on,” he said about the day.

But Collins also was concerned about the defense. Daniel Murphy is still learning how to handle second base. He replaced Brad Emaus and Rodriguez got a hit past him in that 11th inning. Said Carrasco, “Its horrible man to just come in there and give the game away like that is very frustrating.”

Frustrating right now is the word for the Mets after seven games. Collins won’t say it, but if things don’t get better this week against the Rockies you get the feeling the Mets manager will also be using that word more often.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

 

 

Posted under Bullpen, Eighth Inning, Fly Balls, Game Loss, Game Series, Home Game, Leadoff Hitter, Miscue, New York Mets, Rich Mancuso, Rubber Game, Seven Games, Short Term Memory, Starting Pitcher, Straight Game, Top Story, Washington Nationals

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on April 10, 2011

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Long Day At The Park For The Mets

NEW YORK – There were perhaps less than 1,000 fans in the seats at Citi Field Wednesday afternoon when New York Mets starting pitcher Jonathan Niese threw the first pitch to Milwaukee Brewers leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks at 4:10pm. It was a rare twin bill of baseball in New York City courtesy of a Monday evening rain out that required two games.

Even if the games meant nothing towards post season implications, they had to be played. The Mets are finishing up another dismal campaign, third in the NL east, and the Brewers sitting fourth in the NL central also playing out the string and ready to pack their bags for the winter

Because net receipts from the gate and concessions are so important to the teams, the schedule must be played out. Even if there is a rain out the makeup game gets on the schedule if agreed by the teams this late in the season. With concession stands closed in the upper decks at Citi Field, and the noticeable empty seats it was time to play ball.

When the first pitch was thrown, and for a good part of the first game, fans in the stands and media in the press box could hear sounds of the game. A crack of the bat, fastball in the catcher’s mitt, and even players on the field heard saying “got it” or “go to first.”

“Rather play one game because as a player you are used to preparing for one,” said the Mets Chris Carter.  He would single and drive in two runs in the Mets two-run third inning of the first game. Those in the slim crowd could be heard, as the Mets started to cut the deficit after Niese surrendered six runs in the Milwaukee top of the inning.

That was one perspective of a long afternoon that went into the late evening in Flushing Queens.  The Mets would lose the first game of the double dip, 8-7. Niese (9-10) would throw 2.2 innings, on 10 hits and six runs, The Mets would battle back scoring five more runs in the fourth.

So what about those loyal fans who have once again witnessed another losing season at Citi Field? Carter, a first year Met loves their loyalty. “I love New York fans,” he said. “They’re tough, they know what to expect. I really appreciate the fans. As a player you block out the fact that there is nobody in the stands,” he said.

David Wright would hit a two-run homer in that fourth, his 28th and third game in a row with a homer, done four other times in his career and now the fifth time he has 100 or more ruins batted in, But he failed to connect in the nightcap when the Mets could not score runs, could only get 5 hits in a 3-1 second game loss.

It was not the 13 hits they had in the first game. Starter R.A. Dickey concluded a successful first season in New York. A surprise who was signed after spring training, Dickey (11-8) was talking about coming back next season. The 35-year old right hander has earned a role to start with a knuckleball that has revived his career.

“Feel I have a lot to offer and age is no consequence,” commented Dickey who gave up six hits in seven innings. “Priority number one was the ability and consistency to throw strikes.” The fans saw what Dickey offered and many times showed their appreciation.

It was a storybook season for a pitcher who got a role when Oliver Perez and John Maine left the rotation, “I feel this is what I can offer over the next five or six years of my career,” said Dickey who certainly can hang around more with a knuckleball that has consistency.

“What impressed me the most was his consistency,” said Mets manager Jerry Manuel who may not be making a decision about Dickey’s role with every expectation that Sunday will be his last game at the helm. “Every time he took the ball, he gave us a chance to win.”

When the first game was over, about 7:40pm, Manuel had used eight pitchers which tied a franchise record for a nine inning game.  The supposed 28,284 in attendance, more about tickets sold, than who showed, made as much noise as they could as the Mets staged another comeback in the eighth inning that once again failed short.

And when the second game began, a half hour later at 8:16PM, many of those empty seats were still visible and another Mets player Carlos Beltran was shut down for the final four games.  Beltran would say the mild inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee would require what the doctor ordered,

“I’m happy, actually the knee’s better, I’m happy for that part” said Beltran who was having a strong September which provided optimism for next season, that is, if the Mets don’t decide to trade him in what would be the final year of a $119 million dollar contract.

“The part that I’m not happy about is just that I wanted to finish the season playing but by the recommendation by the doctor they don’t want me to play.”

Ninth inning of game two and the Mets have one last chance to make this worthwhile in another meaningless game.  The “Cowbell Man” Ed Bison was doing his usual thing in a now almost desolate Citi Field, urging fans for one last push. You would think those doing the chanting were in a late season pennant race with their team.

They did cheer for Pedro Feliciano who pitched in both ends of the doubleheader. The lefthander has 91 appearances this season which extended his franchise record that he established the night before.  And they gave Angel Pagan his usual applause when he swiped his 37th base of the season in the first inning of game two, becoming the first Mets outfielder with that many since Rickey Henderson and Roger Cedeno in 1999.

Trevor Hoffman the career saves leader got number 601 for the Brewers and Mets fans went home seeing a double dip loss.  New York, (77-81) needs to win their last four games to avoid their second consecutive losing season. Count four, when including the collapses of 2007, 2008, and of course the injury plagued Mets of 2009.

A long day at the ballpark and there are those loyal Mets fans who are willing to be patient about winning again. And the good thing about it, they have a team that knows they are around to give them support even when ballgames mean nothing in late September.

e-mail Rich Mancuso:  Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Chris Carter, Double Dip, Evening Rain, Fastball, First Game, Game Fans, Late Evening, Leadoff Hitter, Losing Season, Loyal Fans, Makeup Game, Mets New York, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Niese, Nl Central, Nl East, Starting Pitcher, Top Of The Inning, Top Story, Upper Decks

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

Rayburn and Ordonez Hit Homers to Help the Tigers Edge Mets, 6-5

New York – In a nail biting game at Citi Field on Thursday evening the Detroit Tigers (38-32) defeated the New York Mets (41-30) by the score of 6-5. Despite the loss the Mets were still able to take two-of-three games from one of the American League Central’s best teams.

Mets starter Hisanori Takashi (6-3) could not command the plate today in the loss going 4 innings plus four batters, the lefty gave up eight hits, six runs and four walks while also striking out four batters. Tigers’ starter Armando Galarraga (3-1) pitched well in six innings giving up five hits, four runs, and three walks and striking out one batter. Galarraga looked like he would have another no-hitter but the Mets spoiled his plans in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“The important thing for him (Takashi) is his command” Mets manager Jerry Manuel told reporters after the game. “Overall he has pitched well for us, today though it was just the walks and some hard hit balls, but overall he has pitched well for us.”

Magglio Ordonez had a great day at the plate for the Tigers going 2-for-5 and driving in three runs with two of those runs coming on a long home run to left field. Also having a good day at the plate was Ryan Rayburn who was 3-for-3 with one RBI, while hitting a homer as well.  For the Mets David Wright went 2-for-5 with one RBI, while Jason Bay and Ike Davis also contributed with an RBI each.

The Tigers plated their first run in the top of the first inning as leadoff hitter Austin Jackson worked a walk. Rayburn ripped a single to left field to set up runners on first and second for Magglio Ordonez. During Ordonez’s at bat Jackson and Rayburn would steal second and third to have runners in scoring position for the visitors. The duo of Jackson and Rayburn has now swiped 10 consecutive bags against the Mets without being caught. Ordonez could not cash in as Takahashi got him to strike out swinging. Miguel Cabrera was able to plate the first run one batter later as he lifted a sacrifice fly to center field making the score 1-0 Tigers.

Ryan Raburn would work a walk to start top of the third inning, this was when Ordonez lifted his 10th home run of the season making the score 3-0 in favor of Detroit.

The perfect game was spoilt for the Tigers in the top of the fourth inning as Jesus Feliciano picking up the first double of his career, which was hit over the left fielders reach. David Wright kept the inning alive with a single to left field. Ike Davis grounded into a 6-4-3 double play which scored the Mets first run.

Detroit would answer back in the top of the fifth inning as Raburn would strike with a home run (2) of his own to left field giving the Tigers the 4-1 lead. Back-to-back singles to left field by Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera set the stage for Brennan Boesch who worked a walk to load the bases for Brandon Inge. Mets manager Jerry Manuel then called for righty Elmer Dessens to try to stop the bleeding, but Dessens could not do so at first as he walked Inge which scored the fifth Tiger run. The relief pitcher was able to get Gerald Laird to hit a fly ball to right field before inducing the force out by Danny Worth. Even though there was an out recorded on that play, as Detroit took a 6-1 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth inning that lead would not stand as Jose Reyes worked the walk to start the inning. Jesus Feliciano singled to right field setting up runners on first and second for David Wright who ripped a double (21) to left field cutting the Tiger lead to 6-2. Ike Davis plated the second run that inning as he was able to hit a grounder to the shortstop which plated Feliciano. Jason Bay ripped a single to center field which would make the score 6-4 in favor of the Tigers.

The Mets comeback would not end there as the drama mounted in the bottom of the seventh inning relief pitcher Ramon Santiago would start by hitting Ruben Tejada with a pitch and throw a wild pitch during Chris Carter’s at bat, which moved Tejada over to second base. Carter would cash that run in with a single to right field and make the score 6-5. Tiger manager Jim Leyland would call for former Yankee reliever Phil Coke to slow down the momentum. At first it seemed as if it would not be successful as Feliciano was able to hit an infield single, but the Mets could not cash in as David Wright struck out and Ike Davis flied out to end the inning.

“One of the characteristics of the team is our ability to come back,” Manuel said. “They felt like they can come back on any given night and they kept fighting and I really liked the fight that I had seen from them tonight.”

Both the Tigers and the Mets had chances during the course of the game. The Mets had chances to get the tie and the win, as well as the Tigers having a chance to add on to their lead. In the end though both bullpens did the job of shutting down the other teams offense and the score would stand at 6-5. Pitcher Jose Valverde converted his 17th straight save opportunity tonight, which dates back to April 9, 2010.

Up next for the Mets is a three game home stand against another tough American League Central foe as the Minnesota Twins come into town. The first game on Friday features Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey (7-4, 4.58 ERA) taking on the Mets ace Mike Pelfrey (9-2, 2.69 ERA) with the first pitch slated at 7:10 p.m.

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Injury Update:  Mets catcher Rod Barajas did not start tonight with a stiff back and Angel Pagan is day-to-day with a muscle spasm.  The team has recalled catcher Josh Thole from Buffalo and optioned lefty Raul Valdes to Buffalo.

“The move was made earlier in the day,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said after the game. “We wanted to make sure that we were protected and there is a good chance that Thole will start tomorrow.” He continued by saying, “We need to protect our catchers they have been vital to our success and we need to make sure that we are protecting them.”

This story originally posted on www.latinosports.com

Posted under American League Central, Armando Galarraga, Balls, Batters, David Wright, Detroit Tigers, Homer, Homers, Jason Bay, Leadoff Hitter, Lefty, Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, New York Mets, Rbi, Runners, Ryan Rayburn, Takashi, Three Games, Top Story, Walks

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on June 25, 2010

Pelfrey Was Off In Loss

Mike Pelfrey and Phil Hughes both 9-1 coming into Saturday’s game at Yankee Stadium have been nothing but spectacular for the Mets and Yankees. The Mets winners of eight straight games, and the Yankees, losers of their last three were hoping for something special from their premiere pitchers.

But Jose Reyes of the Mets connected on the second pitch of the game, a home run to right field off Hughes, The Yankees would even things up in their half of the first on a ground ball double play hit by Mark Teixeira.  In the end though, Hughes was better and Pelfrey struggled.  The Yankees would take game two of the Subway Series in the Bronx 5-3.

Reyes would connect again in the third after Henry Blanco the ninth man in the order walked. It was the sixth multihomer game for Reyes, his fifth homer of the season that was almost hit in the same spot as the first one. The ball was flying out of the ballpark at Yankee Stadium on a sunny and warm afternoon, but Pelfrey could not keep the Yankees quiet, a team that struggled to score runs the past few games.

“I didn’t have a fastball today,” admitted Pelfrey (9-2) who let the leadoff hitter reach base in five of his seven innings pitched. He allowed five runs the most since allowing six to the Phillies on May 1. “I ended up getting behind guys,” he said. “They gave me a lead, I just couldn’t hold it. We’re playing well. I just feel bad.”

Mets manager Jerry Manuel has seen the development of Pelfrey, who has become one of the premier pitchers in the National League. And he realizes that sometimes he is still young and prone to mistakes.

“I think that he’s been elevating a few of his pitches,” said Manuel. “He is still a young pitcher who over the course of a season and in his career will hit small bumps. He just has to look back on them and get better.”

A reason the Mets have been playing well is because of Reyes and number two hitter Angel Pagan. Also the Mets starting pitching coming into the game was 18-3 with a 2.49 ERA over their last 29 games dating back to May 17. Pagan went 2-for-3 with a walk, single and double extending his hitting streak to eight games, batting .352

Reyes, 2-for-4 extended his hitting streak to 11 games and is batting .438 in that stretch, and with his day has now hit safely in 10 straight road games at the Yankees. “Some stadiums you feel comfortable hitting, I feel comfortable here,” said Reyes about his streak at the old and new stadiums in the Bronx.

“I feel at home,” said Reyes with a smile about once again being comfortable in the leadoff spot.  Mets batters though, after the Reyes one-out home run in the third, had just three hits and two walks

The Mets had a few opportunities against Hughes but failed to capitalize. As hot as they have been, there was still that confidence they could get to Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera who pitched the eighth and ninth innings to close the door

Rivera got his 16th save of the season when he got Ike Davis swinging, Jason Bay on a ground out to second and Chris Carter on a ground out in the ninth “He throws hard and can challenge you,” said the rookie Davis about Rivera.

As for the missed opportunities, the Mets leaving runners on second base in the sixth with Hughes on the mound, and in the eighth Manuel said, “Their guy (Hughes) made some good pitches at the right time or was able to get a double-play or pop up when he needed to,”

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Double Play, Fastball, Fifth Homer, Henry Blanco, Jose Reyes, Leadoff Hitter, Losers, Mark Teixeira, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Pagan, Phil Hughes, Phillies, Pitchers, Pitches, Straight Games, Subway Series, Top Story, Warm Afternoon, Yankee Stadium, Young Pitcher

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on June 20, 2010