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May 19, 2006
  
Upcoming Series: New York Yankees Pitchers

With yet another series loss in the back pockets, the Mets return home hurting and humbled. Only, things don’t get any easier, as the 23-16 New York Yankees will meet them at Shea tonight. The Yankees rotation is probably in worse shape than the Mets is, but they’ve got a formidable run-producing lineup even with Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui on the DL. Luckily, the Mets are throwing some pitchers made to shut that kind of offense down. In tonight’s game, Jeremi Gonzalez (0-0, 5.40) will look to keep the Mets in the game against the shell that is Randy Johnson (5-4, 5.13). In game two, Pedro Martinez (5-0, 3.19) gets the ball in what promises to be a pitcher’s duel against the newly revitalized Mike Mussina (6-1, 2.56). And, in the finale, Tom Glavine (6-2, 2.43) faces off with Aaron Small (0-1, 8.71) who is taking Shawn Chacon’s spot in the rotation for Sunday’s game.

Game 1: Randy Johnson

What’s the Story? As Fran Healy might’ve said, if he were still employed by the Mets that is, “Come out to Shea and watch Randy Johnson fall apart!” Yes, the mighty Unit has been atrocious this year, and it appears as though one of the most dominant pitchers of our era is disintegrating before our very eyes. The decline very clearly started last year, when Johnson’s BAA jumped a whopping forty-six points and his ERA leaped a full run higher. But because he was a Yankee and won 17 games the decline wasn’t as noticeable as it would have been if, say, Pedro did the same. With his K-rate falling for the third consecutive season now, it’s very clear just by watching his starts that Johnson doesn’t have the same stuff that made him the most feared lefthander in the game. He’s either going to have to learn to pitch with lessened velocity (ala Pedro or Glavine) or learn to deal with continually getting hit hard. Johnson’s repertoire is the same from his NL days, only he now sports a low 90’s (around 92-93 MPH) fastball instead of that 97-MPH heater and a slider that is no longer the bastard pitch it once was. He’ll also throw the occasional splitter/changeup.

Last Year: Johnson made two starts against the Mets last season, and though he gave up a ton of hits, he minimized the damage well. In thirteen innings he allowed eighteen hits — including a Kaz Matsui homerun! — but only allowed five runs to score (along with three unearned). He walked one and struck out ten.

What to Expect: This start can really go either way. Johnson knows how important a Mets/Yankees series is to his boss and the general New York fanbase, and he has a history of stepping up in big spots. And he must know that he’ll be knocked all around town if he gets blown out by the Mets, regardless of whether or not the Yankees offense tees off on Gonzalez. Still, despite all that, a blowout by the Mets could be a likely situation — Randy’s allowed six, five, seven and four runs in his last four starts, and hasn’t made it past the sixth since April 23rd. Randy Johnson just isn’t Randy Johnson anymore. He can no longer get by on a gameplan of fastball, fastball, slider and expect to strike out guys and win games. After a very disappointing loss to the Oakland A’s, I’m expecting Johnson to start trying some things out — perhaps throwing more changeups and splitters in order to make his fastball look better. Either way, the Mets should expect what they’ve come to know of the Big Unit, a lot of fastballs and a lot of sliders. Though Johnson used to kill lefthanders with “Mr. Snappy” (http://www.mysticgames.com/famouspeople/RandyJohnson.htm), they’re hitting a remarkable .281/.314/.469 off him. And a world in which lefties hit Randy Johnson better than righties is a world that frightens and confuses me.

Game 2: Mike Mussina

What’s the Story? Speaking of New York pitchers that have reinvented themselves and found success, Mike Mussina’s been lights out this season. After discovering that he’d been tipping his changeup during spring training he went and altered his delivery, and he’s now throwing the pitch more often to much success. His fastball now looks faster, his curveball is harder to hit, and, with his ability to throw strikes all day, he’s been one of the best pitchers in the American League. Moose is one of the few pitchers that feature four plus pitches that can be thrown for a strike anywhere at any count — a high-80’s/low-90’s fastball, an excellent changeup , a nice, sometimes unhittable, knuckle-curve, and a decent slider. He also will throw the occasional split-finger.

Last Year: Mussina had a pretty bad year against the Mets last year, taking the loss in the only game he saw them in. In six innings he allowed five runs off of six hits, including homeruns to Carlos Beltran and Cliff Floyd. He walked one and struck out four.

What to Expect: Mussina really hasn’t had a bad start all year, so it’s unlikely that he’s going to start tomorrow. Mussina’s changeup has been remarkable this season — it’s coming in routinely in the 69-72 MPH range, which makes his high 80’s fastball look ten MPH faster. Hitters just can’t seem to get comfortable against him, and their timing is screwed up by his ability to throw a variety of pitches. The fact that he is once again not walking anybody doesn’t hurt either. Mussina is killing lefties this season with the change and the curve, and setting up righthanders with the fastball/slider combination. This might be a good place to sit Cliff Floyd, who will more than likely do nothing against a guy who’s holding lefthanders to BAA under .200, and give Jose Valentin (.234/.308/.553 – Four HRs in 47 at-bats) a spot start. Lefthanders should look for the down and in changeup on a two strike count.

Game 3: Aaron Small

What’s the Story? Small made a big splash last season in New York, with the feel good story of the season. A journeyman and the very definition of AAAA-er, Small was on the edge of retirement before being signed by the New York Yankees. Despite a lifetime ERA well over 5.00 and nearly nothing to speak of in terms of stuff, Small made his way into the rotation, only to go undefeated — winning ten games in fifteen appearances, including nine starts. Of course, you can only ride in that carriage for so long before it turns back into a pumpkin, and that’s precisely what’s happened to Small this season. Having made only five appearances out of the pen, Small has allowed ten runs off of sixteen hits (including three homers) in ten innings. He’s also walked six and struck out three. Small features a low 90’s fastball, a decent sinker, a bad curveball and a worse changeup.

Last Year: The Mets did not face Small last year.

What to Expect: Small has been hammered every time he’s come in a game, but with a Shawn Chacon shin injury the Yankees are forced to use him in an emergency start. Small’s stuff was pretty sub par except for his fastball anyways last season, so this is not a situation where he’s simply injured or lost his touch. He just isn’t a very good major league pitcher. He throws a ton of fastballs, and he mixes in his curve and his slider to keep hitters off balance. Last year, this gameplan worked well. He isn’t afraid to challenge righthanders inside, but he’ll stick predominantly down and away against lefties. He’ll throw his changeup almost exclusively to lefthanders, as well. If the Mets ever needed to get off the offensive schneid, this is the guy to do it against.

Overall: The Mets offense has been awful. They’ve barely hit, and when they do hit it’s almost never when it matters. The Yankees are throwing two really bad pitchers with one terrific one sandwiched in between — and though the Mets/Yankees series means nothing, this would be a nice series to start hitting in. I don’t care if the Mets sweep the Yankees or not, but this offense needs a jumpstart before the Phillies come into town, and the pitchers the Yankees are throwing can provide just that. Still, with the state of the lineup as it is now, I’m predicting the Yankees to take 2-1, dropping the Johnson start. If this season is any sample, Aaron Small is exactly the kind of pitcher the Mets will be absolutely baffled by.

Predicted Record: 21-19
Actual Record: 24-16
Correctly Predicted W/L: 22-18


48 Responses to “Upcoming Series: New York Yankees Pitchers”

  1. Comment posted by Eli on May 19, 2006 at 8:06 am (#39025)

    “I thought he did a pretty good job,” Willie Randolph said. “He had one or two innings there where he was a little bit shaky, gave up a couple runs, but he still kept us in the game good enough.”

    Was Willie watching the same game? No hope…He says this not because he believes it but because he defends his players? That would be honorable but could you immagine if Kaz M was pitching and put in a similar performance? Willie has done nothing other than forfeit three games – based on the last few years (actually Lima’s whole career) and even AAA this year, no other outcome was predictable.

  2. Comment posted by Rob on May 19, 2006 at 8:40 am (#39028)

    I don’t suppose Dae-Sung Koo can be found to help out against Randy Johnson again?

  3. Comment posted by SROD on May 19, 2006 at 9:08 am (#39031)

    “the Yankees are throwing two really bad pitchers with one terrific one sandwiched in between ”

    I’m not sure why we are already claiming Randy J to be a bad pitcher. Yes, he doesn’t seem to have his stuff, but as you said he’s a big game pitcher and many New Yorkers consider this a “big” game. As much as I’d love to think we get him off the mound by the 4th inning, we discount his ability to step it up.

  4. Comment posted by Adam from Chicago on May 19, 2006 at 9:09 am (#39032)

    Dang it! I was going to mention Koo.

    Maybe we can trade Lima for Joe McEwing!

  5. Comment posted by Joe A. on May 19, 2006 at 9:58 am (#39035)

    Still, despite all that, a blowout by the Mets could be a likely situation — Randy’s allowed six, five, seven and four runs in his last four starts, and hasn’t made it past the sixth since April 23rd. Randy Johnson just isn’t Randy Johnson anymore.

    I’m pretty sure you just guaranteed that Randy will throw his first shoutout of the season tonight. Mussina isn’t this good and is due to get knocked around a little. Small sucks. I say the Mets lose tonight (8-0) then win the next 2.

  6. Comment posted by Lenny Dyke on May 19, 2006 at 10:07 am (#39036)

    I’m officially nervous about this team. The inability to drive in runners in scoring position reminds me of every underachieving Mets team ever! Which is, of course, basically every Mets team ever, except the ’69, ’73, ’86, and ’00 Mets. Anyway, I too, see us dropping this series and falling out of first place.

    Can we please shoot Willie and/or Omar if they run out Lima for another start? I know he looks like Terrence Howard in “Hustle ‘n Flow” and that’s cool and all, but we got baseball games to win. Jeez.

  7. Comment posted by Hubie on May 19, 2006 at 10:10 am (#39037)

    I think Johnson will pitch well tonight and we will lose 5-3. We will win Sunday, Small is a one-year wonder. We’ll tank him Sunday night. The Saturday game is a toss-up. Maybe Cliffy will bust out. He has hit Mussina well. Do you all remember 2004 when Hidalgo owned Mussina in two interleague games. I think he hit 3 HR in two games off of him.

    We have totally outplayed the Yanks the last two years in these games. We gave away two games at Shea last year and then we had that Sunday night Looper fisaco last year. Despite all that we still split 6 games last year after winning 4 of 6 in ’04.

    Anyway, I think this next series against the Phils is big, we need to take two of 3.

  8. Comment posted by bob v on May 19, 2006 at 10:13 am (#39038)

    Eli is right on….although, I can almost give a pass on Lima’s first start since they had no one else, the past 2 have been forfeits, and Randolf defending Lima is typical NY Met soft soaping, same as when they don’t come out and admit the Kazmir and Benson trades were awful. The division is beginning to even out…notice the Braves are 3 1/2 out after padding their record, as the Mets did, with Nats and Fish….Lima never had a place here, he is clearly Minaya’s pet..to me it shows they are not quite ready for the October stage.

  9. Comment posted by Andrew Hintz on May 19, 2006 at 10:19 am (#39039)

    I’m not sure why we are already claiming Randy J to be a bad pitcher. Yes, he doesn’t seem to have his stuff, but as you said he’s a big game pitcher and many New Yorkers consider this a “big” game. As much as I’d love to think we get him off the mound by the 4th inning, we discount his ability to step it up.

    I don’t think I discounted his ability to step it up, as I was the one who acknowledged he could. But you also have to take into account that this isn’t the same pitcher — his stuff is rapidly declining, he’s easily frustrated on the mound, and he’s getting hit hard. But how can you claim Randy’s not a bad pitcher? His ERA is 5.13. His BAA is .265. If he was on the Royals he’d be 1-7 right now. He’s just not very good, no matter what his reputation is.

  10. Comment posted by Danny on May 19, 2006 at 10:26 am (#39040)

    Maybe this is just pessimism lingering from watching Jose Lima start yet another game in a Mets uniform, but I think the Mets will lose 2 of 3 this weekend. And it’s a shame too, because the Yankees are short-handed. With Sheffield and Matsui out of the lineup, they are running some combination of an aging Bernie Williams, Melky Cabrera and Bubba Crosy out there. That is putrid. I like Robinson Cano pretty good (he falls nicely in line with recent all-bat, no-field Yankee second basemans), but the guy was hitting 5th yesterday. The lineup is diminished. But the Mets aren’t doing jack on offense. For all of the well-deserved hatred we spout for Lima, the Mets offense could have maybe picked him up one time.

    Friday, who doesn’t expect RJ to hurl a gem? I mean, really, if the Mets can make a lefty like O’Connor look dominant, what can RJ, albeit diminished, do against them? (See Mulder’s performance for a reasonable approximation)

    Then on Saturday, we have to put up with the “Who’s Your Daddy?” chants. (Pedro, why oh why did you ever say that). Moose is now a slop-thrower who takes advantage of the other team’s aggression at the plate. In other words, Mets Kryptonite.

    If Glavine doesn’t beat Small… I may shift into classic, premature Mets fan panic mode. I don’t want it to come to that.

  11. Comment posted by Brian S. on May 19, 2006 at 10:38 am (#39042)

    Jason Marquis had worse numbers than RJ and shut us down like WE were the Royals. So i might think about reconsidering.

  12. Comment posted by Brian S. on May 19, 2006 at 10:39 am (#39043)

    Worse numbers and far less talent…i should have said.

  13. Comment posted by AJ on May 19, 2006 at 11:28 am (#39045)

    baseball prospectus still gives us a 75% chance of making the playoffs… i want to see us go at least 3-3 against the yanks and phils before i agree to that.

  14. Comment posted by cp on May 19, 2006 at 11:29 am (#39046)

    Not trying to get tomatoes thrown my way – I have a legitimate question as my memory is failing me.

    First inning yesterday when Beltran made his ridiculous throw home on Rolen’s single that let him reach 2nd. Would Rolen have scored from 1st on Spezio’s single? That’s where he should have been if Beltran had thrown to 2nd or hit the cutoff man.

    No I don’t want Lima on the club anymore but if we can set aside our hatred of Lima for a minute you realize that the first run scored reached base on a swining bunt that Wright could have tried to make a play on.

    The second run may not have scored if Beltran had not had a brain cramp – I honestly don’t remember the hit. And the fourth run was another brain cramp/error on Limas part missing Delgado’s throw. Plus Eckstein was on 2nd for that play in part because Castro made a poor throw on the SB.

    Tossing out the Beltran relay and Lima error it could have easily been 3-2 instead of 5-2 when Lima departs.

    He needs to go because we likely have better options, but Willie may have been thinking about 4 less than stellar defensive plays when he gave his half-hearted defense of Lima.

  15. Comment posted by chris in ga on May 19, 2006 at 11:53 am (#39047)

    In thirteen innings he allowed eighteen hits — including a Kaz Matsui homerun!

    KazMat owns one homerun against Randy johnson but it didnt happen last year. It happened in Arizona in 2004. Matsui led of the game with a homer and the mets won 1-0 behind an awesome game pitched by Tom Glavine who owns chase field. I know because I was there. Last year, Miguel Cairo took Randy deep for the mets. You just got your subpar infielders mixed up. It happens

  16. Comment posted by jzach on May 19, 2006 at 11:57 am (#39049)

    Where is there any hope in Lima’s numbers?

    2003 KCR: 73.1 IP, 4.91 ERA
    2004 Away w/LA: 68.0 IP, 5.56 ERA
    2004 Home w/LA: 102.1 IP, 3.08 ERA
    2005 KCR: 169.2 IP, 6.99 ERA
    2006 AAA: 30 IP, 5.10 ERA
    2006 Mets: 14.1 IP, 8.79 ERA

    4.91, 5.56, 6.99, 8.79 —> that is a trend

    I’m praying that Willie’s comments are merely in-the-moment and he didn’t want to trash his player before sending him down. But regardless, if Lima starts again for the Mets, we officially know that this team is winning IN SPITE OF the in-season decisions that Willie/Omar make, not because of them. And when we go 95-67, and the NY media gushes over the Mets and Willie narrowly loses “Manager of the Year” to Leyland, we’ll all know the truth: that this is a resilient team with outstanding baseball players that probably could make the playoffs with anyone as manager (you, me, my mother, Joe Torre…ANYONE!).

  17. Gravatar
  18. Comment posted by Matt Gelb on May 19, 2006 at 11:58 am (#39051)

    Too bad tonight’s game cannot be seen anywhere outside the New York area.

  19. Comment posted by bob v on May 19, 2006 at 12:04 pm (#39052)

    Right on JZach…when they fall 3 games short to the braves, they’ll miss those Lima starts they lost big time…

  20. Comment posted by Eli on May 19, 2006 at 12:06 pm (#39054)

    Willie may have been thinking about 4 less than stellar defensive plays when he gave his half-hearted defense of Lima.

    All spring training, Willie and Minaya would plant “we like what we saw” after Lima was consistently bombed. That he was brought to the Mets system despite his horrible record last year, etc, and no horrible performance could free of us of LIma fits best the pattern that he is a friend of Minaya and/or Willie and is getting preferential treatment. This may not be the case, but I have trouble trying to figure this out. Or that he was brought in to give fancy handshakes with Reyes. The Mets are not going to win without consistent starting pitching. At least a big part of the solution exists with Heilman and Willie continues to stubbornly bring him in relief one or two innings every four games or so.

  21. Comment posted by Brian S. on May 19, 2006 at 12:20 pm (#39055)

    Willy freely admits (no movie title pun intended) that he is a “feel guy”. Omar is not a modern stat GM he is more of an Old School GM. They are easily snowed into looking at outlier data and it seems they have selective memory.

    In defense of the decision though, Soler(or whomever) probably would have not won all 3 games, so it is not a 3 game swing, more likely 1 game. But there is no doubt that ANY other option is preferable.

    We as fans tend to be a bit reactionary, and over 162 games you can’t be reactionary, but it is a tough arguement in favor of Lima.

  22. Comment posted by Nichole Benedict on May 19, 2006 at 12:23 pm (#39056)

    I don’t know who’s going to win cause they still have really good players on the New York Yankee’s. No offense to the New York Mets fans, but that team isn’t all that great to me anyways. See one reason why I say that is because Johny Damon got sold to from the Bosten Red Sox to the New York Yankees. Two years ago he hit three home runs, one with nobody on the bases, two with two people on the bases, and three with the bases lotted. So I still don’t think that the mets have a chance with Gary Scheffield and Hideki Matsui gone with Injurys.

  23. Comment posted by Michael Oliver on May 19, 2006 at 12:36 pm (#39057)

    Of course, you can only ride in that carriage for so long before it turns back into a pumpkin

    I love it.

  24. Comment posted by Stel Og Stem on May 19, 2006 at 12:38 pm (#39058)

    I will let someone else deal with the faulty math and other issues with post # 21.

    Right on JZach…when they fall 3 games short to the braves, they’ll miss those Lima starts they lost big time…

    I am sorry to single you out Bob V, but I hate these defetist attitudes that feel it is just a matter of time before the Mets are properly put in their place by the Braves. I am as big a Lima hater as all of you, but if you are going to assume that the Mets will lose the division to the Braves when they are right now in first place by 3 1/2 games, what’s the point of even being a fan?

  25. Comment posted by Bob V on May 19, 2006 at 12:42 pm (#39059)

    My point is, Minaya’s “faith” in someone like Lima will not break the 14 year run of the Braves.Being a fan also includes critizing obvious flaws in your team, and Minaya opting and protecting Lima will hurt us in the end.

  26. Comment posted by Stel Og Stem on May 19, 2006 at 12:50 pm (#39060)

    I definitely agree 100% with you that Minaya and Willie should not have let Lima make one AAA start for this organization, let alone 3 major league starts. I just still have confidence in us taking this division and I think that is the way you have to think. As much as I hate the yankees and almost all yankee fans, the one thing I admire is their confidence in their team’s ability. As foolish as Minaya has been with this situation so far, I can’t imagine Lima playing any more of a roll in this team’s season (maybe one more start but I really really hope not).

    Free Alay Soler

  27. Gravatar
  28. Comment posted by The Artist formally known as Chris in ga on May 19, 2006 at 12:52 pm (#39062)

    Doctor: I’m sorry sir, I have some bad news
    Patient: Do I have Cancer?
    Doctor: No, it’s much worse. It’s Limatime
    Patient: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    Doctor: The only treatment for Limatime is……
    Patient: Bruning it off?
    Doctor: Hahahaha. Your a funny guy. No the only treatment for Limatime is this oinment. It should go away anytime from later

  29. Comment posted by john on May 19, 2006 at 1:01 pm (#39063)

    Too bad tonight’s game cannot be seen anywhere outside the New York area.

    Yes it stinks. But at least alot will get saturday and all will get sundays. Two outta three for me isnt so bad.

  30. Comment posted by chris in ga on May 19, 2006 at 1:05 pm (#39064)

    Willie Randolph willl be on mlb radio @5:25 this evening

  31. Comment posted by ServalZipper on May 19, 2006 at 1:14 pm (#39065)

    Some Angels posters are suggesting their team deal Adam Kennedy in order to give a rookie more playing time. Adam Kennedy is pretty good. Any chance we can get him to play 2B?

  32. Comment posted by chris in ga on May 19, 2006 at 1:20 pm (#39066)

    Some Angels posters are suggesting their team deal Adam Kennedy in order to give a rookie more playing time. Adam Kennedy is pretty good. Any chance we can get him to play 2B?

    we have bigger problems than second base right now

  33. Comment posted by Brian S. on May 19, 2006 at 1:24 pm (#39067)

    Too bad tonight’s game cannot be seen anywhere outside the New York area.

    For 15 bucks you can sign up for a month of MLB.TV and watch it there.

  34. Comment posted by brooklynMetFan on May 19, 2006 at 1:48 pm (#39069)

    You have to love the disrespect shown by the Mets to Randy Johnson by holding Pedro back a day to face off against the real Yankee ace Mussina.

    I would love nothing more than to watch the Mets kick the dick out of Old Unit

  35. Comment posted by thehotcorner on May 19, 2006 at 2:10 pm (#39070)

    For 15 bucks you can sign up for a month of MLB.TV and watch it there.

    or you can be like $3.95 and get it just for one day.

  36. Comment posted by Michael Oliver on May 19, 2006 at 2:24 pm (#39071)

    thehotcorner…by any chance…is that you norm?

  37. Comment posted by Number Six on May 19, 2006 at 3:01 pm (#39073)

    The presence of Jose Lima in the rotation is one of the reasons I am unimpressed with Omar Minaya. To his credit, he has made moves that improved the on-field product (e.g. the acquisitions of Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado). But they are the type of moves that any GM could have made if their owner had handed them a blank check, as Wilpon has done. He has been much less impressive in moves that actually require evaluation of talent, such as deciding which veterans should get minor league contracts. Knowing that the Mets have much less depth in starting pitching than last year (and an aging rotation to boot), Minaya chose to award a minor league contract to…Jose Lima, who had a 6.99 ERA last year, who even the Kansas City Royals didn’t want, whom Paul DePodesta – a good GM – didn’t want to keep around, even after he had a semi-successful season with the L.A. Dodgers in 2004 (although an ERA around 4 in Dodgers Stadium is nothing to write home about. The result: the Mets have essentially forfeited Lima’s three starts, and he will likely continue to cost the team games whenever he pitches. The Mets are basically in the same situation they were in two years ago, when every fifth game was an open audition for the fifth spot in the rotation. Ironically, one of the moves that was supposed to resolve their fifth starter woes – the acquisition of Zambrano – has cost the team dearly. Who doesn’t think the Mets would be much more formidable right now if Kazmir was in the rotation?

    Hopefully the 2006 Mets won’t make an equally foolish trade [e.g. D-Train for Milledge] that will compromise the team’s talent base.

  38. Comment posted by jzach on May 19, 2006 at 3:10 pm (#39074)

    I knew the Yankees were old, but one need only look across town to see where Willie got his “instincts” for using veteran pitchers. Look at the Yankees bullpen ages:

    Scott Erickson – 38
    Randy Myers – 37
    Mariano Rivera – 36
    Ron Villone – 36
    Tanyon Sturtze – 35 (on DL)
    Aaron Small – 35
    Farnsworth – 30
    Scott Proctor – 29

    Even allowing that Mariano has been one of the top 1-2 closers in the history of the game, this was a disaster waiting to happen. Without hindsight, Aaron Small was a huge candidate to fall off this season, and he’s been even worse than one might have expected. Farnsworth had one good season with the Braves and a history of control problems (that 1.50 WHIP this season isn’t looking too good). The only guy under 30 is Proctor, who has had a good early 2006, but also had a career 5.81 ERA coming into the season and a very unremarkable minor league career.

    So the good news is: if their rotation can’t go 7 IP – and frankly, thus far only Wang and Mussina seem to offer a chance at that – we have a shot at winning in the 6-9th innings aginst a bullpen that has been lights out…in the 1990s. The bad news: we have Torre’s protege.

  39. Comment posted by jzach on May 19, 2006 at 3:17 pm (#39075)

    Oh, and one last thought on Lima:
    With Howard, Utley and Abreu all being lefties, it is almost inconceivable that we would start Lima versus the Phillies over Oliver (a LHP) and Heilman (particularly effective against lefties). To further confirm this, the Phillies are 5-7 against lefty starters and 17-11 against righties. This is what we have been reduced to: hoping that Oliver, the 35-year old with a career 5.06 ERA, gets the start over Lima, a 33-year-old with a career 5.25 ERA.

    Good job, Willie. Good job.

  40. Comment posted by Chris in ga on May 19, 2006 at 3:39 pm (#39076)

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2449846&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab2pos1

    a good story comparing met fans and yankee fans

  41. Comment posted by cp on May 19, 2006 at 3:46 pm (#39077)

    The club does have an off day on Monday. If Gonzalez delivers tonight they could keep everyone on regular four days rest and skip Lima this turn.

    That would mean we have until next Saturday to find a replacement. If Bannister’s MRI is negative and they try another rehab start on Monday that could put him in line for next Saturday.

    Day…5-man…..If Skip Lima
    Fri…Gonzalez…same
    Sat…Pedro……same
    Sun…Glavine….same
    Mon is an off day
    Tues..Trachsel…same
    Wed…Lima…….Gonzalez
    Thr…Gonzalez…Pedro
    Fri…Pedro……Glavine
    Sat…Glavine….???????

  42. Comment posted by jzach on May 19, 2006 at 4:05 pm (#39079)

    Wow, Number Six, your post reads like a “Top 8” of cliches said about this team.

    CLICHE #1: To his credit, he has made moves that improved the on-field product (e.g. the acquisitions of Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado). But they are the type of moves that any GM could have made…

    In the past few summers, the Yankees, Red Sox and several other teams have had payrolls and holes in their team that would have allowed them to make the same moves. But their GMs did not make the same move (obviously). Instead, the Yankees got Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, and Johnny Damon for a similar amount of gaurenteed money than we are paying Pedro and Beltran. The Red Sox got Edgar Renteria, Matt Clement and David Wells. They made their decisions, we made different ones. Each team makes choices on how to spend large amounts of money, And just because Omar’s choices worked out does NOT mean that “any GM could have made them.” In fact, I would say that the high-paid guys he’s brought on board are pretty much universally producing, barring the average season that Beltran put up last year (I say average because it was a good year by normal standards, but a far below average one for superstar standards).

    CLICHE #2: …if their owner had handed them a blank check, as Wilpon has done.

    Blank check = $200 Million … until our payroll is remotely in that ballpark (instead of $100M) it is not a “blank check.”

    CLICHE #3: He has been much less impressive in moves that actually require evaluation of talent, such as deciding which veterans should get minor league contracts.

    Ummm, did you see a guy by the name of Roberto Hernandez pitch last season? Or perhaps you were diappointed by the fact that Leiter was allowed to walk? Or maybe you wanted to bring in Sammy Sosa? Or cut Julio Franco and Endy Chavez? C’mon, he’s at least broken even on veteran minor league contracts, and has made some hard decisions on who NOT to sign that Mets GMs in the past would have screwed up on. Just because Lima sucks, doens’t mean he’s done poorly in this realm.

    CLICHE #4: Knowing that the Mets have much less depth in starting pitching than last year (and an aging rotation to boot)…

    Benson and Seo were two average starting pitchers, for whom we got one excellent relief pitcher, one erratic relief pitcher with a high ceiling, and one average starter who is almost at Benson’s level already. Presuming that Omar had no clue about Zambrano’s elbow, he saw a team with 2 reliable starters (Glavine and Zambrano), 2 potential but unlikely injury risks (Pedro and Trachsel), and 3 young guys with little injury risk (Bannister, Heilman and Maine) who could easily fill in the #5 slot and back up and other starters. Add to that Iriki and Soler – two foreign-born professionals who could potentially be available mid-season – Omar felt that having Seo and/or Benson was as important as a solid bullpen. And with that picture, I agree that it didn’t seem like Lima figured highly in the picture. Keeping Benson/Seo and going 7-9 deep on starters with a guarenteed unreliable bullpen FOR THE WHOLE YEAR would have been just as bad as the mess we now find ourselves in.

    CLICHE #5: the Mets have essentially forfeited Lima’s three starts, and he will likely continue to cost the team games whenever he pitches.

    I agree that he costs the team when he starts, but to say we have forfeited the games is absurd. Five runs will unfortunate is not insurmountable. And it’s not like any of the other options were a sure bet against the Phillies, the Cardinals and the Braves (arguably 3 of the Top 5 teams in the NL).

    CLICHE #6: The Mets are basically in the same situation they were in two years ago, when every fifth game was an open audition for the fifth spot in the rotation.

    Ironically, here you understate things – since every 4th AND 5th game is an open audition for a rotation spot – but you are still wrong. Things are much different than two years ago since in the #1 and #2 spots we are stronger (Glavine04 and Leiter vs. Glavine06 and Pedro), we have a better bullpen that can keep a lead in a close game, we have a much better lineup, and we have hope on the horizon with Bannister, Soler, Pelfrey, and Maine. We even have a guy who would probably be very effective in the rotation in Heilman that we refuse to use. We are so much more loaded now that you can actually accuse the team of making a bad decision, where as two years ago we sucked so much we had no other options.

    CLICHE #7: Who doesn’t think the Mets would be much more formidable right now if Kazmir was in the rotation?

    I’ve asked some reliable sources and apparently the Devil Rays called “no-trade-backs” right after we made the move. So I guess you should probably get over it.

    CLICHE #8: Hopefully the 2006 Mets won’t make an equally foolish trade [e.g. D-Train for Milledge] that will compromise the team’s talent base.

    This is not at all equal to Kazmir-for-Zambrano. Milledge is likely to be good – maybe even very good, maybe even a superstar – but only an idiot wouldn’t consider trading for a 24-year-old lefty starter who has produced for three years in the Majors. It’s so far from a “foolish trade” that I am quite positive that the Marlins would not take it if we offered. Do not confuse the five year age difference between Zito and D-Train to mean nothing, and that one trade is the same as the other. Zito = probably foolish … D-Train = we’re listening

  43. Comment posted by bob v on May 19, 2006 at 4:23 pm (#39082)

    I’ve heard Julio called alot of things, but a relief pitcher with a high ceiling? Please..he is awful with no upside, don’t be fooled by his recent outings..that trade has hurt the team, plain and simple, yet Minaya stands by Julio AND Lima…ever wonder why?

  44. Comment posted by Michael Oliver on May 19, 2006 at 5:20 pm (#39086)

    D-Train for Milledge? Sign me up. Seriously trading prospects is 100% OK, just for the right players. A guy under 25 who is pretty damn good is OK to deal for.

  45. Comment posted by AJ on May 19, 2006 at 5:54 pm (#39091)

    from mlb.com bio on jose reyes:

    If Reyes ever develops a batting eye comparable to, say, John Olerud, he’ll have a .500 on-base percentage.

    i thought that was rather humorous.

  46. Comment posted by Joe A. on May 19, 2006 at 6:08 pm (#39093)

    If Reyes ever develops a batting eye comparable to, say, John Olerud, he’ll have a .500 on-base percentage.

    Humorous, but completely false. if Reyes learned to lay off pitches out of the strike zone, pitchers would just throw him strikes. He isn’t much of a power threat and a walk is almost as good as a double, so no matter how good his eye is, he is never going to draw a lot of walks. Jose needs to stop taking strikes and be more aggressive.

  47. Comment posted by Paladin on May 19, 2006 at 7:25 pm (#39101)

    To the rose-colored glass wearers:

    This game barely started. What do you think of your starting rotation now? Tired of discussing this with all of you only to have you defend this rotation. Now we can watch our offense not pick up runners left on base as well. Can’t wait. Typical Mets. So tired of the inconsistency.

  48. Comment posted by Paladin on May 19, 2006 at 7:40 pm (#39116)

    Hey look! They ACTUALLY drove in some runs! Wow. Taking advantage of a struggling pitcher for a change. Now I KNOW RJ is washed up. Let’s see it continue…

  49. Comment posted by Paladin on May 19, 2006 at 10:31 pm (#39271)

    It’s a miracle! A miracle, I tell ya!

    Pen does the usual sparkling job, but… can you believe it?!? Driving in RISP? Can it be?!? A solid performance all around, arguably this teams MOST solid this season?

    Well I’ll be…

    Still need starting pitching, but a great win tonight. Stunning…

  50. Comment posted by I actually watch the games on May 20, 2006 at 2:08 am (#39337)

    First, Bob V do you watch the games, Julio is way better than Lima in that he can actually get guys out with Major League stuff, his troubles are more mental and wildness. The Benson trade will bear out over the course of the season, Kris Benson is a fraud. He is a liability in August and September, and if you didn’t realixe that is the time that divisions are won, not mid-may. I will take Julio and Maine over KB 8 days out of the week.

    Secondly, Paladin, as someone noted on another thread, hitting with RISP will even out over a season did you really think we were gonna hit .230 w/ RISP all season with this lineup.

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