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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One Bad Inning Dooms Santana

New York -Prior to the rubber game of their three game series in the Bronx Sunday against the Yankees, New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel was asked about his starting pitcher Johan Santana.  Is this the typical first half of the season for Santana, 5-3 and a 3.13 earned run average?

“That’s just his history,” commented Manuel “Just hoping it’s the same thing,” he said when asked about the usual strong second half that comes from his ace.   Santana still has about four more starts before the All-Star break next month after losing to the Yankees Sunday. The damage was giving up his third grand slam of the season to Mark Teixeira. That gave the Yankees their four runs and taking two of three from the Mets at Yankee Stadium.

“He’s a guy I’m never concerned with, said Manuel.  However the Santana fastball has seemed to have lost some speed. Teixeira off a 1-1 pitch hit a low fastball to left clocked at 89. It may have not cleared the wall at Citi Field.

The ball kept going to left and bounced off the wall into the stands, a typical Yankee Stadium home run. The home run by Teixeira, his 12th of the season gave the Yankees the 4-0 lead. It was the Yankees seventh grand slam hit this season, the seventh given up by the Mets pitching staff.

“In this ballpark it’s a home run,” said Manuel. In defense of Santana Manuel added, “In out ballpark, it’s a different story.” But it was still a home run and it goes in the books. An inning that started with a Derek Jeter single, an infield hit, and the bunt by Nick Swisher that Santana and first baseman Ike Davis could not handle.

Those plays happen sometimes to Santana, who has allowed four runs in his last three outings, “We have a routine play, one we were not able to make it,” he said about the play at first that was followed by the Teixeira slam.

“I stayed focused after the home run and was able to throw my fastball,” added Santana who has allowed 17 earned runs in 16.2 innings pitched in three career starts , and a 1-2 record in games at Yankee Stadium.

If the Mets were going to send a message, or provide some dominance to this inter league subway series, the one to cement that was Santana.  With the exception of that home run Santana was able to hold the Yankees to eight hits, striking out three.

“He’s historically been a second half pitcher,” said Manuel “I think he’s starting to gear up for that and, not that he’s not trying but that’s been his history. But I’ll take what he’s been giving us. A few bloop hits and then he gives up a fly ball that ends up going out here because of the ballpark, I still see a guy who competes,”

For now Manuel will count on his ace to close out the first half with a strong finish.  Maybe it is the rubber game of a series that also hindered Santana, because the Mets are now 2-8 in those situations this season.

“When all is said and done, however, if you would have told me that we’d go 7-2 on this nine game road trip, I’d take it,” said Manuel when asked about coming into the Yankee series with a 6-0 trip and then Mike Pelfrey and Santana losing the last two games.

Manuel said putting that into perspective, he was satisfied. But the Mets can never be satisfied unless Santana gives them a solid outing.

ADDED NOTE: After the game the Mets optioned 20-year old right hander Jenrry Mejia to Double A Binghampton to prepare him as a starter and recalled right hander Bobby Parnell from Triple A Buffalo. Mejia threw a scoreless sinning of relief Sunday and it is obvious now that the Mets want to groom him as a starter.

“We felt that his development and progression kind of leveled off,” said Manuel about the move. “But to get him to the next level he needs to pitch on a regular basis.”

Added general manager Omar Minaya, “The only way he’s going to get better is to throw more.  We just feel we have to stretch him out a little bit more.”  Minaya also added it was something planned and Mejia was enthusiastic about the opportunity to pitch more that would help with his development.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Ace, All Star, Bunt, Derek Jeter, Different Story, Dooms, Fastball, First Baseman, Game Series, Grand Slam, Johan Santana, Mark Teixeira, New York Mets, Nick Swisher, Pitch, Play One, Rubber Game, Starting Pitcher, Top Story, Yankee Stadium, Yankees New York

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on June 21, 2010

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