September 11th, 2006:Cody Ross of the Marlins hit three homers to lift Florida to a 16-5 win over the Mets. Cliff Floyd hit a two run homer to give the Mets their first two runs, then later on, Milledge, pinch hitting for Beltran, hit a double to right to score Chavez. Then Delgado got a single to center to score Milledge. We should be out discussing 9-11 not listening to ball games on the old radio, but it always puts things in perspective.
September 10th 2006:
Yon Mets were losing 9-0 in the NL’s most southern clime, before a minimum capacity crowd of Marlins enthusiasts, and as fate would have it, Eric Stults had a shutout in the 6th inning. Like a tragic Shakespearian character of lesser importance, Steve Traschel had died in the third act, long before the final curtian was rung down and the lights culled.
Actors were flubbing their line drives right and left, and it was a bad day on tour for the Metropolitan Players.
Things were getting tragically one-sided on the theater of grass we call Shea. Then the lyrically heroic yet Quixotic figure of Jose Reyes dashed onto the set, and as in several dreamy nights of mid-summer games past, he took control of the theatrical space and managed to coax a home run from the hand of the opponent with no one on base, and love’s labors already hopelessly lost. It was his 19th such home run, and an eloquent soliloquey it was, over the 396 foot sign and up about ten rows into the peanut gallery. Its paradoxical message was clear; we can’t win, but we can ruin your ******* shutout O uncouth youth from Miami!
Reyes needs only one more homer to earn the moniker of “slugger” by Amazine standards, to round out a very round year for such a linear lad as he. (See Fearsome Foursome Still a Possibility for Mets)
September 9th, 2006:
See Grady Little story
September 8th, 2006
Los Angeles beat the Mets 5 to 0. John Maine gave up four and was bested by Hong-chih Kwo.
Mets Beat Dodgers 3-2 on Bonehead Managerial Move by Littlecopyright c 2006 Evan Pritchard
You remember Grady Little, the guy who mismanaged the Red Sox out of a championship a few years ago? Remember Pedro on the mound for the Sox in the playoffs, and that big meter on his head that said E, and then another sign that said “Reserve Tank” and then the gas tank light that was flashing on his forehead? And still Grady Little didn’t rescue him, but left him out there to weather the storm. To noone’s surprise, Pedro sputtered out of gas on the mound, only to be picked up hitchhiking outside Fenway with a plastic gas can in his hand metaphorically speaking. As a back-up reserve Red Sox Fan (if they ever run out of fans, I’ll be happy to sit in the box seats at Fenway and make alot of noise) I’ll never forget it.
Anyway here comes a “you make the call” situation with the Dodgers leading the Mets 2-1. Master Marvel Moundsman Maddux, brought over to the Dodgers because he’s so good under pressure, on the mound. Bottom of the sixth. Reyes flies out, then Valentin gets in a classic swing and lines a long double into the right field corner, his first game batting second. Okay so it was one fat pitch from Maddox but he had been a great matchup for El Duque. The hear of the order is coming up.
Grady Little bustles out and tells Maddox he’s through, but he wants him to give up an intentional walk to Beltran first, to buy time. Maddux still has a low pitch count and is pitching well.Maddox looks flummoxed, but does it. Runners and first and second, one out.
Then Little brings in Hamulack with a 5.23 ERA. Delgado is up, who is great against Hamulak. Long fly ball. Not only does Valentin tag up, but Beltran tags from first and makes it to second. The outfielder threw to the wrong bag.
As soon as I saw that I thought…oh boy, that mistake will probably come back to hurt the Dodgers.
Well, then David Wright came up, and Little took out Hamulak and put in Brett Tomko, who isn’t great against Wright either, and has a 4.54 ERA and Wright hits a screaming double off the wall, and not only does Valentine come in, but Beltran as well, and the Mets go ahead 3-2, which was the final score.
Because of that intentional walk, and because Tomko was the wrong guy to bring in, Little forced Maddux to get two earned runs tacked onto his record, raising his ERA from what would have been a 4.25 ERA to a 4.38 and turned a Maddux win into a Maddux loss. Maddox now has a losing record (12-13) instead of a winning one (13-12) If he had stayed in, he probably would have retired Wright as well as Delgado, or at least kept it on the ground.
This is not what you call brilliant personnel management! Not that I’m complaining. The Mets need more wins to stay on top in the Best In Baseball Race and keep the Tigers in the cage. It also tightened up th NL west pennant race to 1 1/2 games. But I feel bad for Maddox who should have told Little to pitch the intentional walk himself. Maddox now has 42.24 GLAVine points instead of 43.43 on the year.
Contract between Fans and The Mets
The New York Mets (THE TEAM) do solemnly agree on this 10th Day of September (THE TIME) that they duly promise not to hire Grady Little as manager of said team for any time in the future whatsoever. In due consideration, Mets fans promise to continue coming to attend games in perfunctory manner.
You the Fans
copyright c 2006 Evan Pritchard for Amazine
If a two bagger is a double, and a three bagger is a triple, is a four-bagger, or inside the park homer a quadruple?
Reyes circled the bases in a very very short period of time on a long fly to the outfield wall in today’s game against the 1st place Dodgers. (According to a later Post story, he circled the bases in 14.06 seconds) He jogged towards second before putting on real speed and even so ran the risk of “Clodhopping” the runner in front of him he was so fast.
It was a three run homer, the hard way and it counted as home run number 18 on the year all the same. If Reyes hits two more, he will become a “slugger” by Amazine’s standards (based on a long standing journalistic tradition dating back at least to the 1950s) and will give the Mets their “Fearsome Foursome” as predicted in a July article in this e-rag, by joining Delgado, and Beltran (dubbed today Los Dos Carlos) and Wright. Valentin has 15 big homers including one today and although one was a grandslam, it is unlikely he’ll hit five in the remaining three weeks of the season. Green now has 13.
Tom Glavine, apparently recovered his fickle finger of frigidity, was “lights out” against the top batting team in the NL, the Dodgers. He pitched goose eggs into the seventh, giving up seven scattered hits (6 1/3 innings) during that spell. It extended the Mets staff scoreless pitching streak to 25 innings. The Mets are now 35 over .500. On the other side of the quarter, Brad Penny (whose name sounds like he should be married to Angelina Jolie) gave up 7 runs on 10 hits in a miserable 5 1/3 innings. It was the 7th straight time the Mets beat a 1st place team.
“We were running on all cylinders,” Tom Glavin quipped. So was Reyes apparently. And all this time they were holding back? Wow!!! Were all those Reyes triples (16) really homers that he gave up running out?
The Mets have fallen a little bit in the statistical “by the numbers” game but they now clearly have the best record in baseball, several steps ahead of the ensuing Tigers.
The Mets are leading the NL in slugging average with .455. They are Best in Stolen bases with 130. The Mets are second in runs to the Phils with 1746. They are 2nd in doubles with 283, 4th in triples; (the Dodgers have 48, Rockies have 45, Giants have 43 and Mets have 38 triples.) The Mets are 4th in homers with 181, (Reds have 198 homers , Phils 189 and Braves 184 respectively.)
The Mets have the best home and away records in the NL, (the Tigers are better on the road, by one or two games) and they are winning alot of ballgames. Perhaps the most positive sign is that their starting line up is all healthy at the same time. This is a great development for the post season, especially where Glavine and Martinez are concerned. As Woody Allen once said, “The secret to success is showing up!”
copyright c 2006 Evan Pritchard for Amazine
It was the ultimate insult to add to the injury of the last Braves-Mets series. A battle of the flops. Some may have looked ascance (or two scances, possibly) at my unkind words for Bobby Cox in a recent article, August Report Card, and in fact I have reedited those comments, even though he is a …..x#@%* but on Wednesday, Randolph and the Mets served Braves manager Bobby Cox the worst putdown they could have possibly concocted, and better than anything I could make up. They sent out their B team to wipe the ashtrays of Bobby Cox’s best Braves in a doubleheader at Shea. It was a moving, poetic, beautiful nonverbal statement. Our worst against your best. The snub worked perfectly. We beat them with our 8th and 9th starters.
Mets Win Opener, 4-1
The Mets number 8 starter Dave Williams beat the Bully Braves in the opener 4-1. How many teams even have eight starters? We have 1. Pedro 2. Glavine 3. Traschel 4. El Duque 5. Maine 6. Bannister 7. Solare 8. Williams and 9. Perez. Then there’s Pelfry, a great 10th starter. We also have somebody named Lima or something, who is our 11th. There was only one lower blow we could have pulled and that would have been to start Heilman. What does this say to Bobby Cox? “Take a number!”
The Mets and Braves both scored in the second. Then Delgado hit his 36th homer in the sixth, to give him 100+ RBIs the eighth time in nine years, and with plenty of asphalt left in this race. Newcomer Shawn Green who platoons in right, had his best day as a Met, 6 for 8 in the double dip. He followed Delgado’s example in the next inning with a two run homer that made it 4 to 1.
Reyes went 2 for 4, and LoDuca went 1 for 4. The Mets started bench jockey Tucker in left, (1-4) Chavez in center, (1-3) and threw in old man Rickey Ledee for good measure as a pinch hitter. The benchmeisters had ten hits total.
Mets Run Away With Nightcap. 8-0
The Mets pencilled in their 9th man in the starting rotation, Odalis Perez, to face the once-fierce Braves and starter Davies, and ended up beating them shamelessly at Shea Stadium 8-0. It was one of the most enjoyable routs in Mets history. I happened to “watch” it on game day, which is an interesting way to experience a good baseball game. Its more of a computer-chess experience than an emotionaly exhausting day at the stadium might be, but a fun alternative to radio and tv. When something big happens, you get the message RUN SCORING PLAY and then have to wait two or three minutes to find out what it was. That’s suspense.
The Mets could have picked up the bench from the dugout and thrown it out onto the field; it would have made the same statement. Anderson Hernandez at 2nd? Kelly Stinnett catching? Mike DeFelice catching? Somebody Tucker in left? Post-pubescent hormonally challenged minor leaguer (nothing personal!) Lastings Milledge in left? 48 year old white haired Julio Franco at 1st? What about Chris Woodward at 3rd? Who does he think he is? David Wright?
Who are these guys? And yet they killed the Braves until they were dead. It was a truly one-sided game. Shawn Green, there’s another one, went 3 for 4 with another home run. Mike DeFelice hit a triple to drive in two. Cliff Floyd who is batting .231 went 1 for 3. In all the 2nd and 3rd string Mets got 10 hits and 8 runs.
The highlight for me was watching the exciting bottom of the 6th unfold on Game Day with the sound off. (I was in a public place) Floyd led off with a single to center. Then Green lined a single to right. Then Franco walked. Then Woodward hit a double to left, scoring Floyd and Green. Franco went to 3rd. Then Chad Pavonto repleaced Davies. Then Chavez replaced DeFelice. Good move! Chavez hit a triple to center, his fifth actually. That scored the 4th run of the inning. No Out Madness!!!
It was a great day for Met baseball. Its good to know they care about their AAA farm system and give them free publicity in September by letting them play at Shea.
Roy Oswalt Spooks Metscopyright 2006 Evan Pritchard
Sept 3rd 2006
Roy Oswalt had his no-hitter stuff today, and the Mets were spooked but not scared away as they lost a 2-1 game to the Houston Astros before a paid crowd of 43,018 at Minutemaid Park. El Duque Hernandez started for the Mets and was equal to the task, giving up only one hit and going deep into the game without losing that charming little kick of his right toe in the air, a motion which, in fact, has never been incorporated into the Balanchine repetoire but should be. ..if they can manage it with as much elegance.
He was relieved by Mota and other people named Hernandez. (The Mets have three players by that name!) The Astros went ahead on a suicide squeeze with the bases loaded in the sixth, but a hit did not figure into that inning. In the top of the seventh, Reyes beat out an infield hit to break the No-No for Oswalt, but did not score. The Astros scored one more to make it 2-0.
The shutout continued with help from Houston relief unti lthe top of the ninth with two out, when Carlos Delgado hit a home run just above the 30 foot high yellow line on the outfield wall for the Mets’ only run and only thier second hit. The Astros only had one hit the whole game but stranded nine runners.
It was the first time that a Mets pitching staff had combined for a one hitter and lost. And that makes El Duque the oldest player in Mets history to start a game in which the staff combined efforts for a one hitter and lost to a team leading the central division, starting with the letter H.
NEW STADIUMS (STADII?) IN TOWN: WILL CORPORATE NAMING RUIN THE PRISTINE REPUTATION OF NEW YORK BASEBALL? AMAZINE WANTS TO KNOW
Copyright c 2006 Evan Pritchard for Amazine
Just about every other new stadium has been turned into a billboard for some bank or product, and then its all about money, and of course baseball in New York has never been about money…ha ha ha, LOL!
My proposal is to have Key Bank and Wang Computers sponsor the new stadium up in the Bronx and call it the Wang/Key Stadium, and to have Lays Pototo Chips sponsor the new Mets field and call it Lay Stadium, which will allow for corporate shills to have their day, and at the same time have a more gradual impact on the already bent ear of the average New York fan.
Remember years ago when Pope John led a giant prayer gathering at Shea Stadium? He put butts in those seats that day! If Lays Potatos won’t take the bait, we could have the new Pope back the new sandlot digs and we could call it Pray Stadium, which is what we all do whenever Heilman takes the mound anyway.
Or maybe the band Slayer could use a little PR and we could call it Slay Stadium. They could come and do a few concerts there, no problem. You remember how they called Dwight Gooden the “K Mart?”: That was very effective and it was great free advertising for K Mart discount stores. Maybe its time they return the favor, and pay for all expenses for the new stadium (so that the tickets could be on Blue Light Special on weekdays) and we could call it K Stadium, a linguistic difference which would hardly be noticeable.
Even less noticeable would be if the country of France bought up the place and simply called it Chez Stadium, and served Hors D’Ouvres between innings. No problem with that.
But of course the least impact would be for MET Life (the insurance company who has been stealing our thunder for years) to pay the bills for the new place and we could call it MET stadium. After all, the simplest solution is often the best.
That is my proposal, let me know what you think!
REYES THE GLEEFUL GLADIATOR IS A ONE MAN ARMY; Another Hot Stat Story from AMAZINE’S “You Gotta Believe It Or Not” Dept.
Copyright © 2006 Evan Pritchard
As of the end of August 2006
Jose Reyes is having a HECK of a year. In fact he is doing the work of ten normal people who happen to be major league leaders. It is difficult to compare him to other players; although one player may be a close second in any one area, no one challenges him across the board. (He is also the National League leader in elaborate handshakes) The movie An Army of One comes to my mind as a comparison. He’s a runty-neck Rambo in blue and orange. In fact, the fairest way to create a yard stick for Reyes is to compare him to entire teams in the National League, the baseball equivalent of an army. True to form, that’s just what we’ll do. I hope you enjoy the trip. It’s pretty Amazin’.
Reyes has 164 hits so far, which means that this pintsized perpetrator of pitcher persperation has about 1/7th the number of hits made by the entire Atlanta Braves 25 man roster for the season.
“Roadrunner” Reyes has scored 110 runs so far this year, which is 1/5th the number of all the runs scored by the entire Chicago Cubs 25 man roster this season.
This wide-eyed warrior of the basepaths has 271 total bases.so far, which is 1/7th of the total bases of the entire Astros team so far, including all those belonging to the Killer Bees, Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio, and all.
Reyes, the Cheerful Charioteer of Chance this year, has 16 triples so far, which is as many as the entire Nationals team, but which is more triples than the entire Pirates organization (15) and two more than the entire Brewers organization as well (14).
Now for the really amazing news, stolen bases. Reyes, the Sabretooth Sultan of Swipe, currently sports a total of 55 stolen bases (just under one per every two of the 125 games he’s played in) is two more than the entire San Francisco Giants team (53), six more than the entire Pirates team (49), seven more than the highly touted St. Louis Cardinals team (48), and eight more than the whole darn Atlanta Braves team(47).
That is a super season in the making. If you multiply these figures times 1.227 you get the projected totals for the year. But you never know, he might get hot!
Reyes, the Lanky Lion of Leadoff Larceny, as Howard Cosell might have called him, is on course to score 135 runs, smack 201 hits, (Of the 210 guys who have hit over 200 hits a season since 1901, over 33% are Hall of Famers.) He will have run out 20 triples, collect 332 total bases, and steal an amazing total of 67 bases.
And while we’re talking about individual Mets compared to whole teams, we have to mention Carlos Beltran, whose 39 home runs by the end of August equals 1/3rd of the entire LA Dodgers home run output for the year. (117) and his 112 rbis equals 1/5th of all Chicago Cubs runs scored this year. That’s an impact player.
And in a similar vein, how about that double-popping duo, LoDuca and Wright? They both hit the 32 mark at the end of August. That’s 64 two-baggers between two good looking young guys, okay Paul LoDuca isn’t that young any more. Anyway, those 64 doubles equals 1/4th of all Dodger doubles to date, and the same for LoDuca’s former team the Marlins, (both at 257). The Phillies have 245 doubles at momth’s end and Misters L and W’s total equals 26% of that; The Padres have only 239 doubles, and the L and W team have equaled a ******** 27% of that. But the most amazing is to compare these two to the Cubs; who have only 227 doubles on the year so far. Dave and Paul have personally chalked up 28% of that number in their free time. But no one on the Mets would dare to steal thunder from the mastermind of mayhem, the gooney geek of guerilla gamesmanship, little Jose Reyes.
BELTRAN, METS BEAT HOUSTON WITH AN ALL-TOO EXCITING 9th INNINGCopyright ©2006 Evan Pritchard for Amazine
Sept. 2nd late edition
John Maine had some high octane stuff tonight against the Houston Astros, but of the two hits he gave up over six plus innings, both were rockets, both solo moon shots that landed on the next planet, an unusual two hitter, but typical for John Maine. He retired the first 12 batters with ease before giving up a Lance Berkman homer to break both the shutout and the No-No. On one occasion, Maine seemed to run out of gas and Willie Randolph did some tough-love coaching, coming out and castigating Maine for not the first time this year for pooping out too soon, and Maine responded with another few outs. After the second hit, a second solo homer, he was spelled by H. Feliciano then Aaron Heilman did a nice job in the eighth, entering a 3-2 game to get us to the former Houston closer, Billy Wagner, who has been exciting lately in both senses of the word.
It was Wagner’s 61st appearance of the year, aiming for his 34th save in 39 chances to bring him within one of the league lead. (San Diego’s closer has that mark, but has had the sensation of someone breathing down his back lately, and that would be Wagner’s breath, West Virginia Moonshine and all). The Mets are (3rd I believe, depending on the outcome of other of tonight’s games) in saves in the NL with 38.
Cliff Floyd flew in from Florida through some stormy weather to suit up in time to enter his first major league game since June and hit an rbi sac fly in the fourth and then in the top of the ninth inning, facing a left handed pitcher he hit a clutch double to score an insurance run to make it 4-2.. Floyd had been .159 (11 for 69) against lefties until today. That run turned out to be unnecessary, mathematically speaking, but emotionally it saved New York City from a lot of emergency calls to Mt. Sinai Hospital’s cardiac center. It was exciting enough with Billy Wagner facing his best friends and the city that spurned him in his youth in the ninth with the heart of the order up.
The first batter was Taveras, and he hit a sinking line drive to Chavez that didn’t sink. If it had, the inning would have been even more exciting as we shall soon see. Then Biggio doubled off his old friend Wagner, making it a 3 for 3 night. Lane walked on nine tough pitches in the 100 mile per hour range, five of which he fouled off, and its interesting to speculate that if the line out to Chavez had not been picked up by the breeze, there could have been a bases loaded situation with no outs. And of course if not for Cliff Floyd, a 3-2 game as well. Then came the second of the Killer Bees, Lance Berkman, the most dangerous batter west of the Pecos or at least in Houston. He hit what looked at first like a walk off game wining three run home run, but then it miraculously stayed in the park for what looked like a game tying double off the top of the wall, but Carlos Beltran who is stumping for MVP, staged one of the most spectacular catches of the season. He climbed up a chain link fence and caught the ball high in the air, coming down on the fence and injuring his knee as he came down towards the ground. He stood for a moment then felt the pain and collapsed. It took some time for him to leave the field, with Wagner getting stale on the mound. But Chris Burke, another Killer Bee, came to the plate and was stung looking at a fast ball that buzzed right past his immobilized swatting apparatus, and the game was over.
The final score was 4-2 bringing the Mets magic number to 12.. Maine got the win, and now sports a 5-3 record as a Met. Wright went 2 for 3, raising his average to .305. Beltran got a hit, and scored twice. As the broadcast went off the air, the Detroit Tigers were still entangled in a 2-2 deadlock with the Angels of their better nature (to misquote Lincoln) but it is interesting to see that Beltran, obviously having followed Amazine’s tracking of the Best In Baseball Race, knew what was on the line, and didn’t take any chances. He gave his all for the team. By making that catch he insured Mets supremacy in the win/loss category for another day over the Tigers. In the interview he said it was an important game, but as the Mets are ahead of the Phils by 16, he must be referring to the race for Best in Baseball, as reported by Amazine. He also may have been referring to the intensity of feeling in Houston towards his presence at Minutemaid Park, which has gone a little sour like a day without sunshine, so to speak. The Tigers eventually lost to the Angels 7-2 in extra innings, putting the Mets alone at the top of the Major Leagues in winning percentage.
Update: Doctor’s initial assessment was that no ligaments were torn in Beltran’s left knee, but that it was badly scraped and bruised.
METS BEAT HOUSTON IN OPENER, PASS TIGERS IN BEST IN BASEBALL RACE
UPDATE SEPT 1st
It was the ninth inning in Houston, into the wee hours of Friday night as far as East Coast Mets fans were concerned. Billy Wagner came in with a two run lead, as the Mets had battled back from behind three times to take an 8 to 6 lead over the Astros. Wagner gave up one run but held onto that narrow margin for a 33rd save and an 8 to 7 victory. With that, the Mets snuck past the Tigers to lay claim to the Best In Baseball Title. The Tigers had lost to the Yankees 6-4 on Thursday, while the Mets had lost 8-4 to the Rockies the same day. The 2 hour difference meant the Mets took the lead in the Best in Baseball race for two hours before losing to the Mountain Time Rockies. On Friday, the Tigers won 9 -0 over Los Angeles at Detroit to go ahead again in the win loss race. Because Detroit is in the Eastern Standard Time Zone, that game ended less than an hour before Billy Wagner took the mound in Houston. If that second run had scored, and then a third, the Mets would have stayed behind the Tigers, by about a game. Since Wagner held on, they inched ahead and are now again the Best In Baseball, by a tiger’s nose.
Tonight’s game in Houston presents the same possibility. If the Tigers win in Detroit, where they usually do, they will go ahead of the Mets for an hour. If ,at the end of the ninth inning the Mets are ahead of Houston, they win and inch ahead of the Tigers yet again. Its an exciting time to be alive and a Mets fan. I have not not been a Mets fan for 20 years, and have not been dead for a long time (at least 50 years) but all signs indicate that it is a great time to be alive and following the Mets, even without taking either alternative for comparison’s sake. Thanks, but no. I’ll stay alive and continue cheering for the Mets.
This hot streak really started on July 26th, and continues into September as we speak. From July 26th to Sept. 1st, the Mets are 23 and 10, and have outscored the opposition 180 to 138. This is a trend we hope will continue as the Mets surge for the finish line of this much celebrated run.
In fact, as the stars (Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Cliff Floyd) return to the sky, (the Mount Olympus at Roosevelt Ave Queens) we hope it will get brighter yet. We soon-to-be spoiled rotten Mets fan want 100 regular season wins, and we’ll hold our breath until we get it. In fact, using the usual “Keep Doin’ What They’re Doin’ approach, the Mets will repeat in September their August performance and win loss record, so add 19 wins and 11 losses to 82 and 50 and you get 101 wins and 69 losses, 69 to honor the great Mets team of 1969 who first won a World Series by that name and 101 to break the 100 mark which qualifies them as one of the truly great teams (see the book Greatest Teams in Baseball History) in history.
Their current won/loss record on the year, 83 and 50 is about the same as August, 624%. They have completed 82% of the season. To project any accumulative figures at this point you multiply times 1.218, which gives you 101 victories. That’s the number we’re looking for!
The Mets by the way lead the National League in runs scored for the week so far, at 33 from Monday to Friday, with two games to play in the baseball week. (Milwaukee has only scored 6 so far during this same period!) The NL has scored 295 runs this week and so far, the Mets have 1/9th of those runs out of a field of 16.
By the way, as of September 2nd (AM) the Mets have the second best home record in baseball, 43-23, (,651515). They are right behind the Twins who have an astounding home advantage at 45-22 (.67164) . The Chicago White Sox have a 44-26 record at home, which is .62857 for third best. The Yankees are 42-24 at home, and for those ticket prices, they’d better win. Then the Dodgers with 42-26, then Detroit with 41-24. Okay so the Mets earned their extra gold ticket dollars this year, although its hurting my credit card situation something fierce. Gotta keep those blonde baseball wives dressed in fur I guess.
(A WORLD CLASS BUNCH OF GUYS, BUT DON’T COUNT THOSE CHICKENS YET)copyright © 2006 Evan Pritchard for Amazine
Sunday, September 3rd, 2006
Gannett Papers Declare Mets “#1 in Power Rankings” “The Greatest Offensive Team in Franchise History!!”
The Sunday edition of the Middletown Record ranked the Mets the #1 team in power ranking for the first time, as long as I’ve been following that column, and described them as the greatest offensive team in franchise history. I’ll second that emotion. The Yankees by the way came in second in their poll, which is also fair enough, with the Tigers a respectful third, and the upsurging Twins fourth and the downsurging White Sox fifth. No argument.
To find a greater offensive starting lineup you have to look beyond the 86 Mets, that much is becoming clear, presuming Beltran’s “day to day” status is not any more of a big deal than that. The last two weeks of August have shown that when healthy, this starting lineup is, win or lose, worthy of comparison with some of the great World Series teams of baseball legend.
That doesn’t guarantee they will get through the playoffs. GOD (who was a Yankee fan since the late 70s but is starting to lean towards the new Miracle Mets) KNOWS it doesn’t even guarantee a National League Pennant. We now have a 16 ½ game lead over the Phils. The Dodgers (whom some point to as a predecessor of the Mets, along with the Giants) had a similar ******** lead in the National League back in 1951, and you remember how that turned out, Ralph Branca’s pitch to Bobby Thompson and so forth. It could happen.
That ill-fated 1951 Dodger team had a strong offensive lineup: They had Gil Hodges at 1st base, Jackie Robinson at 2nd, Pee Wee Reese at short, Billy Cox at 3rd base, Andy Pafko in left, Duke Snider in center field and Carl Furilo in right, with Roy Campanella behind the plate. You couldn’t ask for a better starting lineup. In fact their starting four pitchers were not bad either: Don Newcombe, Preacher Roe, Ralph Branca and Carl Erskine, and even though they had a 13 ½ game lead on August 11th, they managed to blow it, and ended tied with the Giants at 96 and 58, losing the three game playoff as well. OUCH!
Why are we having this conversation? Call it the power of positive worrying. We have a very similar team. So let’s worry about it, and get over it and enjoy the post season in a humble manner, appreciating the art of baseball and its finer points, like WINNING WINNING WINNING!
Here’s our lineup this year, with each player’s stats (as of August 31st) projected to the end of the 162 game season, multiplying by 1.209 (134 games times 1.209 =162.)
SS Jose Reyes……… 300 …..…85…….20
C Paul LoDuca……….319 …….50……..5
CF Carlos Beltran …286 ……137……47
1st B Carlos Delgado .268……117……41
3rd B David Wright….300 … .125……30
RF Shawn Green ..…..279 …..68……13
2nd B Jose Valentin ….285 ..… 62……17
LF Endy Chavez ………314……40…….4
As of August 31st, this line up has 3.383 actual at bats with 993 hits, for a .293 batting average. When projected, this figure would not change. Three players with 100 plus RBI’s four sluggers with 20 or more homers. Note that the only man with less than 50 ribbies is Chavez who split the position with three other players, including Cliff Floyd.. This lineup is headed for a total of 177 homers, and 684 RBIs. That’s not the team total, just the impact of these eight guys.
Our four starting pitchers are probably going to be:
Pedro Martinez. ..9-5 ….3.84 .…125 K projected 11 -6 …3.84 157 K
Tom Glavine….. 12-6..…4.13….108 K projected 14-7…..4.13 130 K
Steve Traschel…14-5…..4.98…..73K projected 18 – 6 ….4.98 88 K
O. Hernandez….9-9 ……5.29….130K projected 10 – 10 …5.29 157 K
A probable total of 532 strikeouts for these starters.
The Mets would have a relatively weak starting four compared to most World Series teams, based on this year’s performances, but they have excellent World Series records, (except Traschel) so it’s anyone’s guess how those aging hormones will kick in during the heat of competition. We have a better bullpen than the Dodgers did and the second best in the National League. Here below is one of the most famous lineups in baseball history, the 1951 Dodgers.
1st B Gil Hodges…………268………….103……….40
2nd B Jackie Robinson….338…………..88……….19
SS Pee Wee Reese …….286 …………84………10
3rd B Billy Cox …………279……………51 ……… 9
LF Andy Pafko………….255 …………..93……… 30
CF Duke Snider ……..277……………101………29
RF Carl Furilo ………….295……………91 …….16
C Roy Campanella ….325……………108………33
The Dodgers’ starting lineup had 719 RBIs with 186 homers. That’s 35 more RBIs than the Mets lineup as listed, and 9 more homers than the Mets starting 9. If you add Cliff Floyd’s stats to Endy Chavez’ who shared left field, you get the missing numbers almost exactly. Cliff had 10 homers and 36 RBIs before going on the DL. He’s now back in action at Shea and would play in any World Series the Mets might play in this year. If you add this to the Mets lineup stats, we begin to see how closely matched these two teams would be. The Mets would then have 720 RBIs to the Dodgers 719 and 187 homers to the Dodgers’ 186. That’s really really CLOSE!
Note: These are not projected figures for Floyd, simply his actual stats through 80 games (274 at bats). It is hard to predict how many more at bats he will get this year, so in fact the Mets estimates are conservative.
Don Newcombe, 20-9 …3.28 ERA ….164 K
Preacher Roe, ….22-3 …3.04 ERA … 113 K
Ralph Branca ….13-12 ..3.26 ERA …..118 K
Carl Erskine, …..16-12 .. 4.46 ERA ……90 K
These four Dodger starters had 485 strikeouts, less than our patchwork Mets rotation with 532. The “Brooks” staff would have an advantage in ERA over our starters.
It was a great team, one of the best, but they got over-confident and lost the pennant to the Giants. This was a similar team to the later Dodgers who beat the Yankees in the World Series in 1955 in seven games. Don Zimmer had replaced Robinson at 2nd, who moved to 3rd replacing Billy Cox. I’m sure they were not overconfident, facing Mantle, Berra and crew. Let’s hope the Mets can stay focused, especially if they face the Yankees in the Series.
Here are my player to player matchups, partly by position, partly by offensive numbers. If you switch 2nd and short, and switch catcher and third as well, you can begin to see the parity more clearly bewteen the two teams. (see below).
POS.. PLR..…..AVE ….RBI..HR…. POS …..PLAYER…AVE….RBI….HR
1st Hodges……268….103…40 …1st B Delgado .268…117…41
2nd Robinson…338….88….19 …SS….Reyes…..300…85….. 19
SS Reese …….286 …84…10….2nd B Valntin ..285..62…17
3rd Cox ………279….51 … 9… C LoDuca…..319….50…..5
LF Pafko…….255 ….93… 30….LF Chz/Fld ….290?…75….14
CF Snider ….277…101…29…..CF …Beltran…286…137….47
RF Furilo …..295…..91 ..….16…..RF….Green….279….68…13
C Camp’a ….325…108…33….3rd B Wright…300..125…30
Newcombe, 20-9 …..3.28 ERA ….164 K ……Martinez 11 -6 3.84 157 K
Roe, ………22-3 ….3.04 ERA …113 K …Glavine 14-7 4.13 130 K
Branca …….13-12 …3.26 ERA ….118 K …Hernandez 10 – 10 5.29 157 K
Carl Erskine, ..16-12 .4.46 ERA ….90 K …..Traschel 18 – 6 4.98 88 K
Any way you cut the pie, it comes out pretty even, offensively. One can imagine that if these two teams faced each other, Willie Randolph would go to his bullpen in the 4th inning without hesitation, but it would be close.
OTHER GREAT WORLD SERIES LINEUPS
This section has been moved to the Amazine Virtual hall of Fame for further study. Please click on this link:
Here are other starting World Series lineups to which the Mets probable fall lineup can be compared. I believe that you will find that in most cases the Mets compare with similar numbers, and would have a decent chance against these teams, depending on the pitching matchups.
METS CLINCH ASTERISK-SPANGLED BANNER IN AUGUST!!!*****PUT IT IN THE BOOKS! Another Glorious Month in Mets History, August 2006
Copyright © 2006 by Evan Pritchard for Amazine
*****PLEASE NOTE THE ASTERISKS!! LOTS OF THEM!!DON’T LOOK NOW BUT THE METS HAVE ALREADY CLINCHED THE NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST PENNANT, KINDA SORT OF***
What am I talking about? Why tempt fate? We have been tempting fate here at Amazine since January 06. Its our style. Anyway, at the end of August, the Mets clinched a winning season with 82 wins and 50 losses for a .621 win/loss average (right now one percentage point behind the Tigers for best in baseball). Even if they were to lose all 30 games remaining, they would still be 82 and 80, and end the season two games above .500, which last year seemed like a prize. And as long as Philadelphia stays at .505 the Marlins at .480 and the Braves at .450, (in other words “Keep Doin’ What They’re Doin’) Los Metsos will still win the NL East anyway, even if they lose every game in September, God Forbid, spit spit spit!!
That’s a pretty big asterisk, but let’s face it, we’re pretty hungry for an NL East pennant, which I believe has eluded New York since 1988. In politics its called a “projected winner,” (which could mean anything including hanging chad estimates to “my brother works for Dybold’s Voting Machinery Division”) , but at Amazine we are now calling a “projected winner” for the National League East and it is us!
However there are no scurvy asterisks clustering around that “winning season.” That is for real, and you can put it in the books. The Mets will have a winning season this year, no matter how Bobby Cox likes it, and I’m sure he won’t. Let his curses weigh him down and drag him to the ocean floor of the National League, he cannot stop the Mets from winning this year, even if he did call for a 100 mile an hour fastball at Delgado’s knees at the end of July (remember Chicken Snead? Cox did the same thing to him in 2002) and even if Cox did shoot a pea shooter at Pedro Martinez leg to cause that injury, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx even if he did sleep with Lo Duca’s wife and cause her to divorce our team captain, and leaked those false gambling scandal reports to the press after that, and then called Glavine on the phone and lured him to think about returning to Atlanta next year, then breaking in to Glavine’s room in the middle of the night and replacing his wedding ring with a special freezer-ring that made Tom’s blood run cold on that finger, Cox will still not stop these Mets and they will end up above .500 and the Braves will be losers in fact as well in spirit. (see update: Cox was upset at what I said in an earlier version of this post (Message received via a psychic channer who specializes in Elvis contact). I agreed to re-edit this paragraph out of respect for his feelings, but in fact I thought he’d be flattered that I imagined him running around with a Playboy model…at his age!! In fact I would rather rant about the real damage done to his team in that B-Mets versus A Braves double header than about these imaginary doings.
I grew up in Washington DC as a Senators fan, and you who are history buffs or saw ******* Yankees” on HBO know what I’m talking about. The main difference between Broadway and real life is that in real life even the Devil wouldn’t put money on the Senators to land above .500, no less a World Series. Even Robert Short, (may he spin three times in his grave, and if he’s not dead, its not my fault) who put money into the Senators to win in Washington cut his losses and ran away. A Senators fan is scarred for life, always looking over his or her shoulder at the shadows on the wall, the shadow of “loser!” which is what Orioles fans used to call us. And the problem was, they were right. If you win less than .500 percent of the games, you are in many respects a loser, mathematically and in the playground at school. I used to say, “But the Senators have won a number of games this year!” (A small number!) And for half of the decade, I have trudged on as a Mets fan against tumultuous opposition, some of it from Yankee fans, who haven’t had a losing season since Ralph Houk signed at the dotted line. “Losers! They called out! And I have said, ‘Yes, but the Mets won SOME games!!! Really!”
I supported them at the heartbreaking grand-slammed crumbling end of 2001, at the scandal-silly collapse of 2002 and during depredations and lootings of the tragic and ill fated Howe Dynasty, circa 2003-2004 AD. So to clinch .500 and a winning season is a big relief for me, because as a Senators/Red Sox/Mets fan, I have come to know the meaning of Last Minute Twist of Fate over a period of 40 years and it dogs my baseball soul. But, as Bull Winkle Moose used to say, “This time for SURE!” And if everyone keeps doing what they’re doing, we’re IN when it comes to the NL East.
METS REPORT CARD FOR AUGUST:
During this Amazine Month (the TIME) I am happy to report that the Mets (the TEAM) went 18 and 10; that’s 18 wins and 10 losses, a .642 win/loss percentage. That’s not a record-breaker by any means, but it certainly qualifies as a surge, and during the Dog Days of August where there isn’t much break in the action to sit down and go WHEW!! There were a lot of close games, and in spite of having the best bull pen in the National League, the Mets established a pattern of getting early leads and then after three innings, letting that lead get away, making for a lot of “easy” games that got scary at the end, and in fact, hey, we like it that way once in a while. In the end they pulled within a fraction of a percentage point of the Tigers for the Best In Baseball race, a race we at the “600 Club” have been following closely since the second month of play. (See Sept 1st update for details of what happened next! Its good!)
During the month of Augustus Ceasar, the Empire City Mets outscored their barbarian opponents 144 to 118. Of the total runs scored in this month’s Mets games, 262, the Mets have scored 55% of those runs, with the opponents scoring 45%. The opponents scored 82% of the runs the Mets did. The Mets scored 1.22 times the runs the opponents scored. As you see, you can express this mark several ways. At Amazine we call this the RMI, the Runs Margin Index.
Here are the final scores for all Mets games in August:
Tues Aug 1st Fla 6 Mets 5 L
Wed Aug 2nd Fla 5 Mets 6 W
Thurs Aug 3rd Fla4 Mets 1 L
Fri Aug 4th Phils 5 Mets 3 L
Sat Aug 5th Phils 3 Mets 4 W
Sun Aug 6th Phils 1 Mets 9 W
Mon Aug 7th no game
Tues Aug. 8th San Diego 2 Mets 3 W
Wed Aug 9th San Diego 3 Mets 4 W
Thurs Aug 10th, San Diego 3 Mets 7 W
Fri Aug 11th Wash 2 Mets 1 L
Sat Aug 12th Wash 4 Mets 6
Sun Aug 13th Wash 1 Mets 3 W
Mon Aug 14th Phils 13 Mets 0 L
Tues Aug 15th Phils 11 Mets 4 L
Wed Aug. 16th Phils 3 Mets 0 L
Thurs Aug 17th Phils 2 Mets 7 W
Fri. Aug 18th, Colo 3 Mets 6 W
Sat Aug 19th Colo 4 Mets 7 W
Sun Aug 20th, Colo 0 Mets 2 W
Mon Aug 21 no game
Tues Aug 22nd St Louis 7 Mets 8 W
Wed Aug 23rd St. Louis 8 Mets 10 W
Thurs Aug 24th St. Louis 2 Mets 6 W
Fri Aug 25th, Phils 4 Mets 3 L
Sat. Aug 26th Phils 5 Mets 11 W
Sun Aug 27th, PPD
Mon Aug 28th Phils3 Mets 8 W
Tues Aug 29th Colo 5 Mets 10 W
Wed Aug 30th Colo 3 Mets 11 W
Thurs Aug 31st Colo 8 Mets 4 L
And What About that Scoring Efficiency Average?
At the end of the month, the Mets still reign supreme in this all-important category. They have scored 714 runs on only 1,325 hits, for a SEA of 1.71 hits per run, which is still, as far as I know, the lowest in the majors.
Mets by the Numbers (to August 31st)
I love this part of my job, keeping track of Mets rankings in various statistics. Here is the pitching news as of the end of August. The Mets have given up the least hits in the National League with only 1146. They have given up the second least runs, and the second least earned runs. Not surprisingly, their 4.12 ERA is second best in the league to the Padres, who are at the moment getting some great pitching, obviously due to the presence of Met-trained Mike Piazza who knows how to call the pitches behind the plate. They are 3rd in shutouts with 8. They are 4th in least hit batters in the NL and 4th in saves with 35 and strikeouts with 935. They are sixth in least base on balls. They’ve given up 10th least homers.
Now the hard hitting news, by the numbers.
1.The Mets are first in runs scored with 714 and in RBIs with 684. They lead the NL in total bases with 2087. They also lead the NL with a grand total of 126 stolen bases. No one else comes close to that. They lead the league in slugging percentage with .456.
2.The Mets are second in total doubles with 266
3.The Mets are third in triples with 37
4.The Mets are fourth in homers with 174
5.The Mets are fifth in batting average with .268.
As we say at Amazine, “You gotta believe it or not!”
WILLIE’S ALL STARS TAKE THEIR SHOW ON THE ROAD
June and July was a hot month for various players, first Delgado, then Wright, then Reyes then Beltran and then LoDuca caught on fire with Mets fever. It was like, “OK, who’s going to stand up to the studio microphone and take their 16 bar solo next?” The Maestro, Willie Randolph, was playing one hot hand after another, penciling in the right Jazzbos on the session line up, and letting them take the spotlight at the right time, just as those bluezy-orangy chords rolled around that brought out their true genius, their baseball artistry taking flight like Greg Pflugh taking a sax solo that sounds like Coltraine taking the 7 Train to Queens instead of the A Train, which leads to that other soon-to-be a museum stadium in the Bronx, where we hope to be in October.. The mix was, as they say, “Beautiful Man, Beautiful!”
Then came August, where it seemed like a different instrument took center stage each game, and even each inning. It was like Group Jam night at the Bluenote or the Village Gate, everybody got into the act doing their own thing, and most of the time, it all came out in the end. Even when it got dissonant in the middle bars, everyone came out blowing chord tones at the coda, with Billy Wagner to roll the traps at the end.
The title of Zoe Rice’s Metsfan blog “PickmeupsomeMets” became even more timely in August as everyone managed to pick up behind everyone else and all came out winners most of the time. That catch phrase, introduced by the Mets themselves at the end of last year, has become ever more appropriate as time goes on. And now its time to pick up the beat and roll the drums for the Mets big finale, come what may.