Mets Build Momentum with 9-8 victory over Pirates

New York – The New York Mets (26-30) needed a day like today, a game like today can either make or break a season. They needed to teach themselves how to believe in their talents and abilities today, especially with a victory over a team that is as tenacious as the Pittsburgh Pirates (26-29).

New York trailed the Pirates 7-0 after 2 ½ innings of play, and defeated Pittsburgh by the score of 9-8 in Thursday afternoon baseball at Citi Field. This comeback ties the second biggest in franchise history, while also being the biggest comeback victory in the majors this season.

It may also be just what this struggling franchise needs to get back on track and get the many Mets faithful to believe again. Many players echoed that sentiment in the locker room after the game.

“It felt great to get the win today,” said Angel Pagan, who has now hit in all seven games since returning from the 15-day disabled list. The outfielder also said, “We haven’t been playing the way that we know that we are able too. We just kept battling back today and never gave up, and it is a great feeling for us.”

A big part of the comeback effort by the Mets today was one Terry Collins who was fired up after the squad dropping a 9-3 loss to the Pirates yesterday. So far the players enjoy the passion and energy that Collins brings to the squad.

“Terry’s speech after the game last night gave us the wakeup call that we needed,” Pagan said. “He basically said that we can play better than this.” He continued by saying, “I love having a manager like him, the fact that he gets fired up and cares for us, Terry is really doing a great job as our manager.”

Another key to the game was Carlos Beltran, who drove in four runs in today‘s game. Three of those runs were recorded on a huge blast to left field. That homer along with some timely hitting by the Mets propelled them to the huge comeback.

“This was a huge win for us today,” Beltran said in the locker room, “After the homer it was a boost to the team, but we needed to score more in order to win this one.” He continued by saying. “Tejada has a good at bat to drive in a run, and overall it was a true team effort.”

Beltran also had this to say of the meeting that Collins had with the squad yesterday, “The meeting that Terry had yesterday was great, I liked it a lot because it was different then the meetings we had in the past.” He continued, “He has passion and energy and he makes it clear the way he feels about the team and his players, and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you need someone to wake everyone up, and it was a good thing because we woke up and won this one today.”

Collins enjoyed the home run by his outfielder saying, “That was a huge swing for us today that has been the biggest thing so far for us was that we weren’t able to get the big swing and today we did.” He continued by saying, “The big guys really stepped up for us today.”

“He believes in us and we need to believe in ourselves,” Beltran said of his manager and his team, “Right now we are missing guys, but we have plenty of guys that can contribute as well.” He would continue by saying, “It is time for us to start working together as a team and playing hard.”

Utility-player extraordinaire Ruben Tejada continues to shine in his time with the Mets. The starting second baseman impressed with both his glove and his hitting as he recorded three RBI in the game.

“I have been feeling good playing with the team,” Tejada said. “I’ve been taking a lot of pitches and really trying to do what I can to help the team win.”

Tejada had a huge moment in the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, lifting a sacrifice fly out to center field, and driving in the run that gave the Mets the 8-7 lead. He also impressed with a nifty play in the sixth inning getting a ground ball by Josh Harrison and throwing him out at first base.

“It feels great to have been a part of his comeback effort today,” Tejada said. “This type of comeback is what we needed to get back to playing our game.”

Manager Terry Collins has been impressed with the youngster saying, “He had a good at bat’s for us this week, and he has been putting the bat on the ball and making contact.” He continued by saying, “He laid off some tough pitches today. Overall he has a huge upside and will be a very good player for our team.”

On this day the Mets bullpen came through and bailed out starter Mike Pelfrey, who didn’t have his good stuff on the mound today. The righty gave up seven runs and 10 hits to a very feisty Pirates team. Collins called in four relief pitchers, to help save the day and the victory for the Mets.

The lone run that the bullpen gave up was in the top of the ninth inning as outfielder Xavier Paul capped a career high four hit day with a triple (2) to right field off closer Francisco Rodriguez. Rodriguez got a fly ball out and a strike out, before giving up a hit to second baseman Paul Walker, which cut the Met lead to 9-8 at the time.

Rodriguez would earn his 16th save of the season by getting power hitter Lyle Overbay to lift a ball into foul territory, in which Justin Turner was able to grab for the final out of the game as the Mets earned the 9-8 victory. Not only did they earn the victory, but also build much needed momentum for the rest of the season.

Returning from the bereavement list today was shortstop Jose Reyes, who extended his seven game hitting streak when laced a single to center field in the bottom of the third inning.

“To be able to make a comeback like this today was a huge thing for our team,” Reyes said. “We just had to come back little by little, and being able to do that was a huge thing for us going forward.”

New York will now look to build on this momentum. It will not be easy though as they now enter into a three game series against their arch-rival the Atlanta Braves starting on Friday. Jonathon Niese (4-5, 3.91 ERA) takes on Derek Lowe (3-4, 4.03 ERA) in Game One of the series, which is slated to start at 7:10 p.m.

“We just need to continue to take it one game at a time,” Reyes said to NYSportsDay.com about what the team does to take the next step. “We need to continue to keep playing our game, Atlanta is a good team, and so we just will take it one step at a time and take it from there.”

Beltran had this to say to www.nysportsday.com on the steps needed to build on this positive momentum, “We need to keep playing hard and I think today’s game should be the game where we look back and say if we can do it for this game, than we can do it for any game. We just got to never give up and keep fighting as a team.”

Remember this day Mets fans, remember this time and moment. Today was just what the Mets needed to hopefully start believing in themselves again.

Posted under Baseball, Carlos Beltran, Comeback Effort, Comeback Victory, Day Like Today, Homer, Locker Room, Momentum, New York Mets, Outfielder, Pagan, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seven Games, Talents, Top Story, Wakeup Call

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on June 3, 2011

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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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2-9 Trip Leaves Mets on a Road to Nowhere

About two months ago, I wrote about the dichotomy that was the New York Mets as Major League Baseball’s winningest team at home while collecting the major’s fewest road victories.

Since that time, little has changed.

The Mets have remained pretty strong at Citi Field, while cooling off just a bit there, going 11-7 since May 27th, to maintain one of MLB’s better home records at 30-16.

The road however, has continued to be unkind to the Mets, as evidenced by a disastrous west coast trip during which the Mets limped home with just a pair of wins in eleven games.

Since that earlier article, the Mets have improved — but only slightly — away from home, going 14-19, putting them at a still dismal 20-33 on the road, overall.

More importantly, the Mets now find themselves in third place in the National League East, looking up at Philadelphia (2½ games ahead of New York) and Atlanta, which now leads the Mets by 7½ games; and, even fourth-place Florida is breathing down the Mets’ necks, sitting just a half-game back.

While the Mets’ pitching has continued to be as consistent as their good play at home, their offense this month has been as promising as their ability to post road wins. Neither can be relied upon.

Even including a six-game homestand prior to the all-star break, the Mets have won just 4 of their past 17 games, scoring more than three runs just four times (three times not counting a bad call in San Francisco) while getting shut out five times over that stretch.

Most of that damage was out west, where if not for a missed call in the ninth inning of what should have been a Met loss to the Giants, the Mets would have won just a single game during their crucial eleven-game swing that saw the Mets score under three runs in seven games.

Not even the return of Carlos Beltran from the disabled list to start that trip nor Jose Reyes’ “re-return” to the top of the batting order could spark the Mets’ silent bats as they wasted several fine pitching performances. The Mets ended the trip without a run over the past 16 innings in Los Angeles, failing to score after the sixth inning in Saturday’s 3-2, 13-inning loss to the Dodgers before getting blanked 1-0 on Sunday.

It was such a poor road trip that it raises several legitimate questions:

At just a game over .500 (50-49), could the Mets, whose season was fairly solid before the all-star break, but which suddenly appears to be on the brink, be sellers instead of buyers this week, as the July 31st trading deadline fast approaches?

Could and should hitting coach Howard Johnson’s job be in jeopardy? At this point, the former Met slugger who had some nice moments as a player, did after all, hit only .249 over his career, and with the Mets in a deep and prolonged team-wide slump, Johnson has failed to get the Mets’ free-swinging and light-hitting offense to change its approach at the plate, as the strikeouts continue to mount at an alarming rate while being offset by far too few walks.

If the Mets don’t start winning soon, how much long might manager Jerry Manuel stay at the helm of his sinking ship? It’s difficult to blame a manger when players can’t hit. Or, is it? It took Alex Cora -– not Manuel -– to lay into the Mets after a loss in Arizona last week after Cora saw his teammates taking on Manuel’s easy-going persona, literally laughing off another loss as if the losing hasn’t been affecting the team much. Fiery managers win, and guys like Manuel win. So, there’s no right or wrong in terms of style, but it’s become clear that Manuel’s style with this Mets team, isn’t working right now.

If the season doesn’t turn around, will the Wilpons consider moving on from the Omar Minaya regime? After falling short in the 2006 NLCS when they should have probably won the World Series that year, the successive September collapses to blow the NL East each of the next two years, and the injury-plagued and poor season both on the field and from a public relations standpoint last year (right, Adam Rubin?), should Minaya be given yet another reprieve if the Mets aren’t at least playing meaningful games during the file week of the season, let alone if the Mets miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season? Minaya has made plenty of good moves, but he’s also left too many holes in the roster, and the underachieving results –- despite having one of the highest annual payrolls in MLB –- speak for themselves.

And, finally, although there have been several different pieces in the past few years placed around the core that has remained, are that core, along with the accompanying compliments simply a mentally fragile team? We’ve seen the Mets produce over the past five seasons when the pressure hasn’t been great. But, when the pressure’s been on, we’ve seen the Mets play tighter than a drum and thus become their own biggest obstacle to achieving success. Game 7 against St. Louis in the 2006 NLCS, and letting the Phillies catch them twice the next two Septembers. Folding like a house of cards instead of at least trying to fight through their myriad of injuries last year. And, now this year, playing well at the friendly confines of Citi Field, yet playing poorly on the road, to the tune of just two series wins (against two last-place American League teams) in 17 road series.

And, let’s throw in one more while we’re at it… how do the Mets’ medical and training staffs remain employed? With all of the misdiagnosing and mishandling of injuries last year, Beltran and Reyes, among others, again missed significant time this year, and now John Maine is out for the season. The only groups who are wrong more often while still keeping their jobs are weather people and at least this year, several MLB umpires.

After a horrid western trip, the Mets will be happy to get back home, but it won’t get a lot easier, as they’ll host the first-place Cardinals on Tuesday. After Arizona then visits Flushing, it’s back on the road to Atlanta and Philadelphia for a couple of three-game sets.

Unless the Mets can bring their Citi Field game to places like that, they’ll continue to travel on a literal road to nowhere and raise a lot of questions as to where others in the organization might be headed.

Posted under All Star, Bats, Carlos Beltran, Dichotomy, Giants, Jose Reyes, Major League Baseball, Mlb, National League East, New York Mets, Ninth Inning, Philadelphia, Road Victories, San Francisco, Score, Seven Games, Swing, Three Times, Top Story, West Coast Trip, Winningest Team

This post was written by Jon Wagner on July 26, 2010