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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

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excellent (rubs hands together)

Jason: What? You didn't like our riveting discussion about whether, and when, you can add percentages?

Thanks for the changeover, Jason.

Howard, excluding the Rollins play, seems to have a flipped a switch in the last few weeks that turned him into a rock solid defender. But that just proves Jason's point. The talent is there, but something else is missing.

Judging by his waste line in clearly isn't a lack of hunger.

"Beerleaguer wonders what happened to the . . . player who used to earn praise for being such a nimble, capable defender for a big man."

We traded him to the White Sox and called up Ryan Howard.

My impression is that Howard just hasn't worked at improving his overall defense unless it is becomes such a glaring issue/roadblock (e.g., throwing to 2nd base last year).

Last point - I know that one of Steve Smith's main responsibilities in infield defense and drills. Can't he point out to Howard that he needs to improve certain aspects of his game defensively (including actually standing on the bag properly when receiving a pick-off attempt from the pitcher).

There's no money in being a good defensive first baseman. As Sammy Samuel said no one ever walked off the Island. If someone told Howie that he could make $14 million in his next arbitration by being the best defensive first baseman in baseball, he would. Or he can not get the $14 million if he remains the worst defensive first baseman he would improve.

I don't think any reasonable person would expect Howard to be a Gold Glove at 1B but what aspect of his defense has improved since 2006? That is the real issue.

To be fair to Howard, he isn't the worst 1B in the NL and he does hustle. I just don't think he has put much effort to improve defensively at all.

Hugh: no one was complaining about the idea to trade Thome and bring up Howard when it happened.

what the hell has gotten into the mets offense? disturbing.

PhillR - Beltran is having a big start to the month, as is Delgado. Murphy and Evans have also been very good in the past month. .351/.437/.514 from Murphy -- .320/.346/.560 from Evans in his past 11 games.

"The bottom line is he has the tools to be better than he is."

Hmmm...toolsy?

Well guys, the pressure is on your team tonight. Us Met fans are hoping that the other lefty with the initials OP do the job against the Phils tonight. I'm not going to be here over the weekend, so best of luck on the series. I'm glad to see that there are other fans just as crazy and nuts as us Met fans are. Kudos to Jason for putting together an outstanding blog.

yesterday i posted and suggested that a bigger problem for the mets is their inability to score late and put teams away ... i got a couple of interesting responses from phillies fans, so i thought i'd follow up after today's game.

today they scored 6 in the first inning, but rather than fall asleep, they tacked on 3 more over the course of the game ... i feel like that's important, it's demoralizing to the other team and rather than the brewers going into the 8th and 9th innings with a four run deficit, they went into the 8th inning with a 6 run deficit and the ninth inning with a 7 run deficit.

also, i wanted to point out that if you look at the mets bullpen, the real problem lies with heilman and sanchez ... both have ERA's over 5 and in heilman's case, the more clutch the innings, the worse he is. Wagner had a tough 4 game set where he blew 4 straight saves, but he's been a B+ closer aside of that.

Feliciano, Schoenweiss and Smith have actually been reasonable pitchers, all have ERA's well under 4.0, Schoenweiss is just a shade over 3.0. I think, when they get overworked when heilman and sanchez both blow up simultaneously things get out of control ... but again, I really feel like the bigger problem here is the mets inconsistency scoring later inning runs when they have a lead.

Just a few more data pts. / thoughts to support my arguments.

Cheers.

Per Scott Lauber and Zolecki, Cole WILL start Sunday night

Good to see the Marlins get out there and support their teams.

http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/gamecenter/recap/MLB_20080903_ATL@FLA>600 Fans.

mets in tx: have you even seen these post all star ERA's

Joe Smith 6.00
Feliciano 6.14
Sanchez 6.39
Heilman 6.85

"I understood the situation," Hamels said. "I think this is a time that really matters. I know my body can handle it. Every five days. That's what I've been able to do all year."

this is good news, but why does he make it seem like he's going out of his way here? It's not as though he's being asked to pitch on 3 days....

Here's a batsh!t insane stat I saw the other day...

K-Rod - 54 saves, 2.43 ERA, 1.23 WHIP

Wagner - 27 saves, 2.30 ERA, 0.89 WHIP

Lidge - 33 saves, 2.18 ERA, 1.20 WHIP

For all the love K-Rod gets, it just shows what a worthless stat the save is.

MF in TX -- One game does not an argument make.

yes i have ... my point is, no wagner, heilman and sanchez have been awful, it creates a ripple effect. their ERA's have been dreadful after the AS break and *still* those three have reasonable season-long ERA's.

if howard started getting pulled for defensive replacement i think he'd put in the extra time/work taking infield practice to stop it from happening.

Mets bullpen 15.1 scoreless innings against the 2nd best team in the NL that CRUSH lefties. Philthies ready to lose a series to the worst team in baseball tonight and head into Shea 3 games back for the burial?

mets_fan_in_tx: It doesn't matter when a team scores runs, all that matters is that they score alot of them. Your BP is clearly the weak link.

Mike, that is pitiful...600 fans. I might not be a Marlins fan, but they are a MLB, NL team. Most towns would give anything to have a major league team. This team has two recent WS trophies on the shelf. There's no excuse for such attendance.

BobbyD"Hugh: no one was complaining about the idea to trade Thome and bring up Howard when it happened."

My post was just a joke - I thought Weitzel was describing Thome (who was big, pretty nimble and sure-handed) as Howard has been a butcher from the day he arrived.
I wasn't complaining and I'm still not. But, while we're on the subject, it was a shame we had to pay so much for Thome to move, but that was a different issue from who belonged on the field and in the Phillies lineup.

I'm no stat guy, but from what I can see, over the last week, the Mets BP has 5 pitchers that have an ERA of 0.00 - Stokes, Feliciano, Schoenweis, Smith and Figueroa. Schoenweis only has 0.2 IP, but everyone else has at least 2.0.

Sanchez, Heilman and Ayala have the following ERAs, respectively: 5.40, 13.50, 4.50 in 1.2, 0.2 and 4.0 IP.

The BP performace isn't isolated. It's been getting much better, but is still volatile as hell, and will continually make me nervous.

The Mets have also been playing .750 ball over the past few weeks...that's what you have to do to win a division...you know...WHAT WE DID LAST YEAR. So when we lose game that we should have won like the last one against the Mets and the first two against the Cubs...it is a big deal.

Whats happened in Florida is a shame... Similar to the braves and nets not selling out playoff games

PhillR -

It matters if an offense consistently goes to sleep for 6 / 7 innings each game. There's just no reason for that. I agree, if they were going to score 7 runs in the first inning all the time it wouldn't be an issue ... let me give you a counter case ... if the Mets were a late inning team, they'd be playing from behind all the time and people would be saying "their offense doesn't score enough runs to put their pitchers into attack mode." I'm suggesting that they have the same problem, only it's more difficult to see it because they tend, more often than not, to play with a lead and let teams scratch their way back into games.

Over the first 142 games, the Mets have scored 22% of their total runs in the first inning. That's a pretty lopsided figured when you consider the Mets float around number 7 / 8 in the ML in runs scored ... as a Mets fan who watches these games, it's tremendously frustrating, time and time again to hop out to a 3 run lead in the first couple innings and then watch the offense become complacent over the latter 2/3rds of the game.

Re Howard: Anyone who's good at hitting a round ball with a round bat has all the talent necessary to catch the ball. Ability is not the issue.

NEPP - And yet, the Phil will likely go into the weekend only 2 games down. They have played .667 ball over the last 2 weeks. Win the series this weekend (or even win just 1 game) and the division is still a strong possibility.

Yet we can never seem to make any ground...You can't give games away this late in the season.

While the Phillies were swept in Los Angeles, the Mets feasted on the Nationals and lost to the Pirates. Picking up 3 games on us and moving into first place.

Since then we have lost a game and a half (today's victory over the Brewers) as we are 12-6 in the last 18 games. The muts are 14-5.

Yes we can't continue to lose ground... but letting the Mets pass us could have been the death knell...

The season is NOT over.

But it's not going to get any easier.

And any time the Mets win a game in hand on us, that makes our next game almost a must win.

A win tonight and taking 2 of 3 from the Mets will only get us to one back.

No matter which way you add up the percentages, the math is against us.

NEPP - I agree with you in that I agree that if the Mets continue to play .750 baseball, the Phils can not win the division. If they do, the Phils will not have lost the race due to any failing of their own, I imagine -- unless they are expected to play .800 baseball. Maybe they are, considering who they play after they finish with the Brewers?

Lineups are out...

Shane Victorino gets a night off and Bruntlett starts in his place batting 8th. Coste is behind the plate batting 7th.

Rollins
Werth
Utley
Howard
Burrell
Feliz
Coste
Bruntlett
Blanton

So is Bruntlett playing RF?

What's the point?

Sophist: Exactly. The mets and their fans were hoping to go 4-4 on the road and be happy with it. Instead, they went 6-2 against playoff teams (phils/brewers) and one scrappy marlins team. As mets fans, we were realistically hoping to go into the weekend series tied or even one back of the Phils, considering they had the nationals when the Mets had the Brewers. In all reality, if the Phils win tonight and proceed to SWEEP the mets (good luck) this weekend, the mets will be one game back of the Phils looking at TWELVE games in a row with the Braves and Nationals. Not to mention during that span, the Phils and the Brewers beat up on each other 4 times and I can assure you the Brewers will be playing with a chip, not to get beat by another NL East team, especially after Jerry Manuels comments.

So while you continue to say it's impossible for the mets to keep playing .750/.800 baseball, you're right it's not likely. However, the mets schedule gets easier for over two straight weeks while the Phils face the same teams, plus the Brewers. True, Mets play the cubs last week of the season, but the cubs will have clinched by then and will surely be resting their players. They'll be shutting down big Z for the playoffs soon anyways.

This is why I didn't understand in August why so many posters on BL were proclaiming that the Mets September schedule is so much tougher than the Phillies? Our tough stretch is over. Oh, good luck losing a series to the worst team in baseball in 40 minutes. Zimmerman!!!

Bruntlett in RF...if we wanted an 0-4 night in RF why not try out Golson? ~semi-serious~

NEPP - I was thinking the same thing. Am I crazy?

MOP - I'm not exactly sure how your statements follow mine, but I think most people thought the Cubs have a harder September because

Mets: 3 MIL, 4 CHC, 15 FL/ATL/WSH
Phils: 4 MIL, 18 FL/ATL/WSH

I think it's pretty clear that you'd rather not play the Cubs 4 times adn instead have 1 game against the Brewers and 3 against a .500/sub-.500 team, yeah?

Before thinking of signing him to any long-term and/or expensive contract, the Phils should give definite consideration to trading Howard to an AL team for a younger and 5-tool second baseman. Utley could handily play first, in that he's got the quick reflexes but, let's face it, he doesn't throw very well. Mr. Howard would do well as a DH for some rich team (Texas, Orioles, etc.) looking for a good hitter.

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