Byrd is the Word For The Mets

New York – Jose Fernandez the 20-year old pitching prospect for the Miami Marlins made his Major League debut at Citi Field Sunday afternoon and the right hander from Cuba was everything that was expected. A good fastball and curve ball from Hernandez limited the New York Mets to one run and three hits in three innings.

“That guy is everything they talked about, outstanding stuff,” commented Mets manager Terry Collins about Fernandez. “Strike one on almost everybody. “ He comprised strike after strike, impressive.”

Fernandez would leave and the Mets would capitalize, but not until the ninth inning. Marlon Byrd hit a two run single that was inside third base and New York would come from behind and get their first walk-0ff win of the young season, 4-3.

The Mets finished their opening home stand of the season 4-2 and embarked on their first road trip, ten games to Philadelphia, Minnesota and Colorado.

Daniel Murphy concluded the first stint at home with success, a solo home run off A.J. Ramos in the sixth inning to center, his second, and drove in his fifth run in the last three games. His production is what the Mets have been looking for and an extra base hit in three straight games is a positive sign.

“That guy’s got good stuff,” said Murphy about Fernandez. “I thought we stayed patient. We were able to kind of get that pitch count up just a bit to get into their bullpen in the sixth. You get in the sixth it gives you four shots at the bullpen and that’s kind of what we’re looking for.”

Fernandez, the youngest pitcher in Marlins franchise history has a good story. The Cuban refugee came to the United States in 2008 and was a 14th round pick out of a Tampa Florida High School in the 2011 amateur draft.  He was 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA in the minors last season.

The Marlins have said they intend to keep Fernandez in their rotation, and after his debut there is every reason to do that with a limited pitch count. Fernandez struck out eight, the first victim of his career was Ike Davis in the first.

“I was more nervous watching five through nine than I was pitching,’ he said. It didn’t feel any different. It was more like a spring training game.” But it was a regular season game, one the Marlins were hoping to win, that is until their bullpen gave it up and the fastball at times was clocked at 95.

New York is depending on a revamped pitching staff with the absence of Johan Santana, out for the season with surgery again to his shoulder. And right hander Shaun Marcum has been sidelined with stiffness, so left hander Aaron Laffey  was recalled from AAA Las Vegas after limited appearances with Toronto last season.

Laffey gave up 10-hits and three runs in 4/1-3 innings, but the Mets bullpen was able to keep the game close. Collins used five arms out of the bullpen that threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

“We hung in there and didn’t let the game get away which I thought was the biggest factor,” added Collins who saw his team get their second comeback win of the season.

In the end it was Byrd who got his fifth career walk off hit and Scott Rice out of the, pen getting his first Major League win. Byrd was inserted in the fifth when Collins made a double switch also scored some points from Collins. The veteran in an outfield rotation may see more playing time. He kept sharp playing in the Mexican league this winter.

“It’s huge to show we can win close games,” said Byrd who struck out twice before the game winning hit.” More so, a win that was huge early in the season.

“Two games over .500 instead of one,” said Ike Davis.  Because winning series are important and the Mets have come out of the gate and won their first two.

Email Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

 

Posted under Bullpen, Cuban Refugee, Curve Ball, Daniel Murphy, Fastball, Florida High School, League Debut, Mets New York, New York Mets, Ninth Inning, Right Hander, Sixth Inning, Straight Games, Three Games, Top Story

Mets End Five Game Losing Streak with 11-7 Victory over Atlanta

Flushing, NY—-The second game of the three game weekend series between New York and Atlanta 0n Saturday night began after a one hour and two minute rain delay. The wait was well worthwhile for the Amazinns as they ended a five game losing streak with an 11-7 victory.

The Mets did not waste much time after the start of the contest to put numbers on the scoreboard. With one out in the first, Justin Turner blasted a solo home run into the rightfield seats. Daniel Murphy followed with a solid single to center. He scored on a David Wright double that reached the left-centerfield wall. The Mets scored the first two runs before Tommy Hanson threw his 11th pitch of the game.

The Braves batted around and scored five runs in the top of the third without hitting the baseball especially hard. Five timely singles, a base on balls and two ground ball outs that drove in runs did the damage against Mets starter Jonathon Niese. Mets catcher Josh Thole commented, “It was more misexecuted pitches than anything.”

Two of the base hits in the third extended hitting streaks. Braves rookies Freddie Freeman, the National League Rookie of the Month in July, extended his hitting streak to 20 consecutive games with an RBI single to center with no one out. The first sacker’s current mark is the MLB rookie high for 2011. If Freeman hits safely in the next three games, he will tie Alvin Dark, who hit safely in 23 straight games in 1948, for the Braves rookie record.

The next batter, Dan Uggla dribbled a ground ball down the third base line for an infield single. The hit extended his hitting streak to a career high of 27 games. Later in the contest, he hit his 24th homer of the season. The accomplishment of the duo is only the third time in the majors that teammates have had concurrent 20 or more game hitting streaks at the same time.

The Mets scored two additional runs in the bottom of the same inning to cut the deficit to a single run, 5-4. Angel Pagan walked and scored on a two-run homer by Jason Bay. The leftfielder, who has heard more than his share of jeers since joining the Mets, was cheered when the ball he hit entered the leftfield seats. After the contest, Mets skipper Terry Collins said, “I thought getting the two runs back was very good for us.”

A lead-off home run by Josh Thole tied the score at 5 in the fourth. Later in the inning, the Mets again took the lead, 7-5, as Turner hit his second homer of the contest, a two-run blast with Jose Reyes on base. Turner had 191 at bats without a home run before hitting his homer in the first. His two long balls marked his first multi-homer game in the majors.

The teams swung the bats very well as every position player in both starting lineups hit safely.

Each team scored several more runs, but the Mets advantage remained in effect. Niese, who hurled five innings, earned his 11th victory of 2011.

The rubber game of the series on Sunday afternoon will pit Dillon Gee (10-3) of the mets against Mike Minor (1-2).

Posted under Alvin Dark, Base On Balls, Consecutive Games, Daniel Murphy, First Sacker, Game Losing Streak, Game Weekend, Hitting Streaks, Jonathon Niese, Josh Thole, Minute Rain Delay, New York Mets, Rookie Record, Second Game, Single Run, Straight Games, Top Story

This post was written by Howard Goldin on August 7, 2011

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Brett Myers and Carlos Lee Make Their Mark in the Astros 4-1 Victory over the Mets

New York – Righty Brett Myers pitched seven shutout innings to lead the Houston Astros (59-70) to a 4-1 victory over the New York Mets (64-65) in Saturday night baseball at Citi Field. First baseman Carlos Lee was all the offense and defense Houston needed to help the Astros take Game Two on a very long road stretch.

Myers (10-7) would toss a milestone in the game as he now has pitched six or more innings in all 27 starts this season. The righty also established a new club record for six plus innings appearances at any point in the season, breaking the previous mark of 26 straight games held by Larry Dierker who accomplished the feat on June 20, 1969 to April 17, 1970. The streak for Myers is the longest to start a season since Curt Schilling had 35 straight appearances of at least six innings in 2002 with Arizona.

“Myers had another outstanding outing and put us in a position to win the game,” Astros manager Brad Mills said after the game. “Throwing the ball like he did was outstanding; what he is doing, what he has done and what he was able to do tonight was outstanding.”

The righty would have this to say of his seven innings, six strikeout performance tonight, “I was just following the plan; I just followed what my catcher (Humberto Quintero) put down. He is a smart catcher and followed the plan well and we work well together.” Myer would continue by saying, “A lot of credit goes to him and pitching coach (Brad Arnsberg) and tonight I just tried to follow my plan and execute my pitches.”

On his milestone he had this to say, “It is not a big deal I just try to go out and give the team the best chance to win, I’m not trying to break any records. If it happens it happens, I am not looking too much into it. I am just trying to go out every six days and do the job again. Anything I can do to go out there and help the team win and help the bullpen as much as possible then that is what I am going to do.”

Houston would get on the board early, jumping all over starter Johan Santana (10-9) getting four hits and plating the first two runs. Carlos Lee and shortstop Tommy Manzella were the two key hits to give the Astros the 2-0 lead.

Carlos Lee would hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth inning over the left field wall to give the Astros a 4-0 lead. That combined with a ‘web gem’ play in the bottom of the third inning to dive to his right and rob Mets starter Johan Santana of a hit was one of the two crucial defensive plays to lead Houston to a win.

“We beat a tough pitcher tonight,” Lee said of the victory. “It was good to be able to win today and now we need to come out tomorrow and keep the momentum going.” The first baseman would continue to say, “Santana had a rough first inning and we took advantage and anytime you have a lead with Myers going out there you know that he is guaranteed to go seven and pitch well for us.”

For Santana it was a tough loss as he has suffered his third consecutive loss this evening. It is only the fourth time in his career that he has dropped at least four straight decisions and only the second time since the 2004 season.

New York would have plenty of opportunities throughout the game to try to cash in on runs and cut into that lead. Rookie Ike Davis laced a double (23) off the right field wall in the bottom of the fourth inning, but two ground outs ended the Mets hopes.  It had seemed as if throughout the night every time the Mets had a man on base Myers would have an answer to shut the offense down.

“The Mets had a runner on base every inning it seemed,” Myers said. “I just tried to make pitches and wanted them to hit the ball at people. If I executed I figured I would be able to get outs, and it just worked out that way.”

New York had left nine runners on base this evening, while over the last five games they have stranded 46 men on bases. The Mets finally scored the first run in the bottom of the eighth inning as second baseman Luis Castillo started the frame with an infield single. Carlos Beltran would move the runner over on a ground ball that was fielded by relief pitcher Wilton Lopez.

Castillo would eventually score on a David Wright single to right field. It had seemed as if hope and a rally would come for the 33,024 in attendance as Ike Davis would hit a single to right field. Sadly Jeff Francoeur trying to hit a home run struck out swinging to leave the runners on first and second for rookie catcher Josh Thole.  Thole would hit a scorching line drive to speedy outfielder Jason Bourgeois to end the inning.

“Everyone wants to step up and get the big hits,” Wright said after the game. “They want to be the guy that steps up and help us win the game, but sometimes that works against you because you try to do too much instead of getting a hit.” On the offensive struggles as of late, “You can’t label one thing as the reason for our struggles. When you look up and down the lineup you see different things and different guys struggling. We have a lot of our key guys out due to injury; combine that with the young players and the guys that are injured; all of that combined is a huge part of our offensive struggles.”

New York hopes to take Game Three of this series, which will take place on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. Houston will send out starter Bud Norris (6-7, 5.03 ERA) to take on the knuckleball of R.A. Dickey (8-5, 2.64 ERA)

Posted under Brad Arnsberg, Bullpen, Carlos Lee, Curt Schilling, First Baseman, Houston Astros, Humberto Quintero, Larry Dierker, Mets Baseball, Mets New York, New York Mets, Night Baseball, Pitches, Pitching Coach, Road Stretch, Shutout, Six Days, Straight Appearances, Straight Games, Strikeout, Top Story

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on August 29, 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