I'm convinced now that there's no way that the Mets could be tanking on purpose. Three straight losses with the exact same score? Even the Mets wouldn't be so dumb as to make it look that obvious.
Random highlights: They gave up a home run to Carlos Gomez, and to the best of my knowledge, he didn't macarena around the bases. And if he did, hey ... it's not like the Mets would do anything about it. They also had a chance to win the game in the ninth after tying it, but David Wright grounded into a double play to send it to the tenth inning, where the powerhouse Brewers took control. For helping to keep our draft pick protected, that was as clutch as it comes.
But as for things that catch my eyes only, you can't beat this tweet from Bill Price for its sheer hilarity and for the temperature of my blood as it boils:
That, my friends, tells you everything you need to know about the New York Mets ... So desperate to make a buck that they'll produce t-shirts for a guy who was last relevant in 2008, and clearly only here to fill a roster spot until the end of the season in an attempt to take money out of the pockets of a country who worships its Japanese heroes no matter how far past their prime they may have traveled. Same franchise who didn't have Jon Niese shirts in the stores for the first three years of his career. But hey, let's sell Daisuke shirts as his month long Mets career is coming to a screeching halt.
I wonder ... I wonder if that plan worked. I wonder if his shirts are flying off the shelves, or if they're going to be on the next flight to a third world nation. But good luck getting the team to give you that information, or tell you anything for that matter. Hell, they aren't even telling anybody when Sunday's Mike Piazza ceremony is going to start.
Mets asking people to be in their seats at 12:45. Game isn't going to start at 1:10 listed time, but Mets prefer not to release actual time.
Would prefer not to release the actual time? Is this a state secret that Edward Snowden is going to leak to the press? It can't be just "Fans should be in their seats at 12:45 for a special ceremony that will start at any time between 12:46 and Christmas." No. They'd prefer not to release the actual time for the game to start. Obviously, the unwashed masses can't handle such classified information because we would probably use it to enter the launch codes, or figure out a way to get a second beer down our throats before first pitch.
Ladies ... gentlemen ... I got nothing. The Mets lost again, and if they wind up getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers with that lineup, then they will have earned the draft pick that they get.
Look, instead of me complaining about Lucas Duda, here's a picture of Fred Wilpon looking like he's posing for the latest J.Crew catalog. It made me laugh. I hope it makes you laugh too. Lord knows we need to laugh right about now.
Funny how one night after Carlos Gomez goes into "Falling Down" mode after hitting a home run off Paul Maholm, David Wright gets beaned in the head by an errant changeup by Johnny Hellweg. This of course would give Wright full rights to salsa around the basis the next time he hits a home run off Johnny Hellweg. And if you know me at all, you would think that I would have been all over the position of beaning any Brewer that moved.
And yet, I felt what you humans call compassion. Compassion for Hellweg, who was obviously out of sorts after hitting Wright, as he hit Lucas Duda on the next pitch with a slider, and was obviously all over the place. Hellweg threw 37 strikes out of 80 pitches. It was probably the precaution that forced Terry Collins to pull Wright out of the game. TC didn't want Wright to get hit again by this guy.
Luckily, Wright is okay. And the Mets now only need to worry about their player evaluations, which should be full of puppies and sunshine after only scoring one run in four innings against a guy who threw 37 strikes out of 80 pitches. But you know, the Mets don't even need to evaluate their players because I can do it for them.
Terry, they stink.
And please, no more evaluating Mike Baxter. We have enough to go on. Thank you.
The Mets lost to the Brewers 4-1, improving their shot at a protected draft pick. Note that the Brewers' lineup had no Carlos Gomez, no Ryan Braun, no Aramis Ramirez, Gorman Thomas, Cecil Cooper, or Ben Oglivie. So you would think that the Mets had to really be trying to lose to get that top ten draft pick. To that I say ... have you watched this team all season? There's no tanking going on here. In fact, there's not much of anything going on here, as it looked like there was barely 100 people in the stands, and you can clearly hear one of them on SNY chant DU-DA DU-DA DU-DA every time he was at-bat, before every pitch.
(Editor's note: If you do this, or you have that high pitched scream that you use indiscriminately in a stadium just to get on television, you deserve to have your flesh turned inside out and shoved in your skeleton, giving you an exoskeleton, and then you deserve to be beaten with a hammer.)
With four games left in their season, the New York Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs. And while I will not do cartwheels celebrating the demise of a team which was relevant a lot longer than the team I complain about constantly, all I will point out is that the Mets went 4-0 against the Yankees this season. While the Yankees may say that they sucked at that point, the Mets have sucked all season (see: the Mets' next series). So if the Yanks would like to point to something in the season that they would like to have back, they should look no further than late May.
And yes, that makes me smile. Albeit briefly.
It didn't take but 24 hours after the Yankees were eliminated for the first "The Playoffs Lack Star Power" article to come out. (The sentiment was broadcast at high decibels after 2008.) All I have to say is this: If you want stars, go to a movie. I'm sure George Clooney is starring in something.
October will be just fine without the New York Yankees.
How can one be angry after a 1-0 win which helps spoil playoff positioning for another team? Well let me show you:
First off, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will be known more for Dice Clock than he will for his recent stretch of good pitching, pitched seven and two thirds of scoreless baseball to get the win in his first ever start against the Cincinnati Reds. He has a 1.37 ERA in his last four starts. It's so nice of the Mets to rehabilitate Dice Clock so that he can pitch well for another team next season. If we're lucky, he'll go to the Braves or Phillies and stick it to us in 2014 after the Mets saved his career. Meanwhile, the Mets will replace him with Bronson Arroyo just in time to watch the 36 year old start to pitch as if he's 72. Can't wait.
But what kills me is that LaTroy Hawkins got the save. Good for LaTroy. Wonderful. But what good does it do this organization to have Hawkins, who was thought to be unavailable with a triceps issue, come in and get the save when you have Vic Black ... who only threw 14 pitches in last night's victory ... available in the bullpen? Said it just mere hours ago but here it is again: Black should have been closing the past two weeks. And I'll use the same principal argument as to why Mike Baxter is starting instead of Matt den Dekker, which Gary, Keith and Ron brought up and were 100% correct on. Why?
Is it because the Mets want to make sure that they "put their best team on the field" so that the Pirates don't get all pissed off at them for not putting their best out there against a playoff contender? Hell I hope not. Because once again the Mets would put the feelings of another team over what's best for their own franchise. (And it wouldn't be the first time that the Mets capitulated to the Pittsburgh Pirates.) Yeah, let's continue that culture and merely exist to fill out everybody else's schedule. It's part of what's wrong with this absolute mess of a franchise that strives for good citizenship and mediocrity in the baseball community.
But the good news is that the Mets victory clinched a road record over .500 for the season, and in the process it caused a rift between Ryan Ludwick and Reds fans as he called them out for not coming to the games against the Mets with some more energy. (Hey Ryan, our crowds respond to the Mets pretty much the same way ... they have a way of putting us to sleep too so don't feel bad.)
Also, I'm hearing among my circles that Shin Soo Choo will indeed sign with the Mets next season at a fairly affordable price ... but only if Sandy Alderson makes him 300 sandwiches between now and Opening Day.
Vic Black was the closer Tuesday night against the Reds, and he probably should have been the closer for the last two weeks. (But hey, I guess we need to see what players like LaTroy Hawkins and Mike Baxter can do instead of young prospects ... but that's another blog for another time.) But after Black closed out Tuesday's Mets victory which hurt the Reds' chances of winning the division, he had something interesting to say:
"We never liked the Reds anyway. This was just watering that flower of hatred."
While Black is on the right track with his hatred of red, there's another shade of red we prefer to hate around here. But for now ... good start. With the revelation that Bobby Parnell has lost 30 pounds and that the herniated disc in his neck might be more than just your garden variety Mets injury, The Flower of Hatred might be your closer next season (which is why he should be closing the rest of the season regardless of Hawkins' status.) So let the seeds of hatred grow.
Congratulations to the Cincinnati Reds for clinching a playoff spot against your New York Mets. They did so via the cold hands of Shin Soo Choo, who had three hits and drove in two runs. It's a glimpse of what the Mets aspire to have, but will probably fall a few million dollars short from getting. So it isn't even like we can salivate at the sight of him with a straight face.
I whined to a Reds fan friend of mine after the game that his team just haaaaaaaaad to clinch a spot against the Mets, didn't they? And then he reminded me ...
Now I don't bring up Al Leiter to pick on the Reds, far from it. I only bring it up to remind myself (and you, if you need the reminder) that it only seems that we corner the market on angst. Look at the Pirates, for example. They had to deal with Barry Bonds refusing to move in at the behest of Andy Van Slyke in 1992, and then dealing with 20 years of absolute garbage (half of which while watching Bonds go to San Francisco and become an icon of many sorts) before they finally righted the ship (the one with the jolly roger) and returned to the postseason. Hell, 1992 was merely the most excruciating in a three year odyssey where they were World Series quality for three straight seasons yet could never get past the NLCS ... once against the Reds, once against the Braves, and once against Sid Bream's blazing speed.
I can't help but wonder if the Mets are going down a similar path. They've dealt with three seasons of hell, just like the Pirates. Once against Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, once while handing Jimmy Rollins the sword of omens forever, and once because Billy Wagner had to go and get injured. And then, five seasons of crap, which is only a quarter of the way to 20. It's worth noting that year six of the Pirates drought started with the promises of 24 year old catcher Jason Kendall, 25 year old Jason Schmidt, 22 year old Jose Guillen, and 20 year old Aramis Ramirez, solid prospects all. They won 69 games ... in part because their payroll was under $15 million.
Sound familiar? It should, because the Mets only have about $33 million committed to next season's roster. What will they do? Surround their high end young talent with players that will give them the best chance to win next season? Or will they be afraid of success, keep their payroll down and go get Abraham Nunez and Turner Ward? And if they did that, would it surprise you? Hell, even with Matt Harvey's attempt to pitch in 2014, I'm sure there are some in the Mets organization who will want to be cautious with the payroll thinking that Harvey is merely one more tear or pop during the winter away from missing 2014 anyway. You know what that means? It means that we're most likely going to go through another season where the highlight, the thing that creates the most buzz among the fan base ... once again ... is rookie hazing day.
Yes, they're all cute in their little dresses. I want more. I want to circle a day in October on the calendar. Not rookie hazing day.
You might have noticed I was gone last week. Let's just say I was visiting some old friends up north:
By the way, total non-sequitur ... but look what the Canadian exchange rate did to Josh Thole's batting average:
Oh, the exchange rate is just about even? Well then ... I guess Thole just stinks.
I didn't take a vacation to get away from blogging about the Mets. I love writing. Writing is never a chore for me. Even writing about the Mets is never a chore. Watching the Mets?
No, even that isn't a chore ... at least not when Keith Hernandez is going completely off the rails.
The chore, at this stage of the season, is trying to come up with new ways to tell you that this same old group of nice people who double as mediocre ballplayers for your enjoyment ... stink. (Although what does that tell you about the Phillies, who got swept by this group?) And the fallacy, at this stage of the season, is getting excited over the prospect of finishing ahead of the Phillies or avoiding 90 losses. Because the truth of the matter is, who cares? The Mets are 13-19 in their last 32 games. And discarding games against the horrid Marlins and the geriatric Phillies, they're 5-16. (No, beating the Phillies is no longer the feather in our caps that it used to be.)
That, I didn't miss. And yes, I did have the fleeting thought in my head while I was away that "damn, I'm glad I don't have to come up with something funny about this mess." Because there's nothing remotely funny about any of this. The Mets are not only bad, they're far worse than bad: They're an ordinary brand of bad. Save for the regular great defense by Juan Lagares, the occasional stolen base by Eric Young, and David Wright's mere presence, this team is boring. Instead of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler we have Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang. Dillon Gee has had a good season. But there's no lower corner graphic telling you when the next Dillon Gee start is. It's to the point right now where I wish that Billy Wagner was back to yell at a reporter. Or Francisco Rodriguez wearing a Mets uniform so that he could punch out some fans in the parking lot. I'd even take a meltdown by Armando Benitez. When I go past missing being in the playoffs and pine for Armando Benitez melting down, that is how you know this team is unwatchable.
I wish there was more to say and more to decipher about these last two weeks of schedule fillers. I wish there was a reason to get excited over splitting a doubleheader against the Miami Marlins. But the fact that a doubleheader that started at 4:10 PM that featured Daisuke Matsuzaka start the second game ended before 10:30 is a huge upset. Bigger upset still was the fact that Matsuzaka pitched seven strong innings. (Though it is the Marlins.)
But the interesting development was Frank Francisco getting hit in the hand by a shot up the middle by Logan Morrison. I'm happy that Francisco isn't dead. Happier still that no bones were broken. Even happier than that because this might mean the end of Francisco as a Met. I couldn't help but think about the karma that might have gone back to him after hitting Jayson Werth between the numbers on Thursday on a 3-0 count.
Sorry to interrupt you, but which idiot would that be, Shaun? The guy who went to Yale or the Civil War buff? The one who won a World Series here or the other one who won a World Series here? As many World Series titles as you've won games here. Okay, continue:
Alfonso soriano's bat size. Last time I checked pitchers don't go thru th opposing teams dugout checking bat sizes. #getAclue
Yeah. I don't check anybody's bat sizes, but I check if other pitchers do it all the time.
Don't you love how birds of a feather stick together? It's like when Barry Bonds rushes to the defense of Lance Armstrong. And if it isn't steroid abusers sticking together, it's mouth breathers like Shaun Marcum and Frank Francisco. And it's amazing that the guy they brought in to replace R.A. Dickey couldn't be more opposite from him in every which way. Dickey won 20 games, Marcum won one. Dickey quoted English literature giants. Marcum says "why do you guys have to know everything." Dickey has twitter conversations with fans about Star Wars, Marcum uses four tweets to shit on the two guys whose jocks nobody in that Mets locker room can carry, after tweeting six other times in his life.
Think about it this way, Frank Francisco told Jenrry Mejia to slow down his rehab to collect major league meal money while soaking up the sun in Port St. Lucie, and he still has a job while Marcum doesn't. I'd hate to find out what kind of raging idiot Marcum was to get released while on the disabled list and out for the season. Pinhead.
Lucas Duda annoys me less this season than he did last season. Of course, that's like saying that fire is much more effective when exposed directly to something other than my testicles. But Duda's three run HR was the difference for the Mets in their latest death struggle victory over the 54-92 Miami Marlins on Friday. The catch is that Duda's HR will probably convince a whole boatload of people that Duda will be just fine as the Mets' first baseman next season. And if it convinces the wrong people, then we ... are ... screwed.
But here's the good news: If you're a fan of this great game we call baseball, then you get to watch not one, but two games today between the Mets and the Marlins. And not only that, the first game features Daisuke Matsuzaka! Holy hell, it's like we all died and went to purgatory!!! Fun. And for those of you attending the doubleheader, remember: free psychiatric evaluations by the left field gate for the first 20,000 fans. (And free ephedrine to everyone who stays until the end of the second game, which after Daisuke pitches the first game and the second one goes 35 innings, might be Monday morning.)
But don't despair. I bet this will cheer you up:
Technically, this was a passed ball by Mike Zunino that ended the Mariners game tonight. Screw that. Zunino was set up outside, so what does Oliver Perez do? Throw inside ... of course! No wonder he dropped it. And by the way, Perez's night consisted of two walks ... and nothing else ... before the passed ball. So ha freakin' ha. Jackass. About time you reverted to your pumpkin ass self. The only worse fate Met fans can have during this surely awful doubleheader today would be to see your sorry ass hit the mound one more time.
I know, I know. Perez has had a better year than usual. But that's like saying I got more use out of bleach when I stopped drinking it.