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Baseball 101: you have to score runs if you want to win games

The Mets lost again Tuesday night, falling to the Reds 3-0 when Jay Bruce hit a walk-off home run off of Josh Edgin.  Don’t look now, but the Phillies are just one game behind the Mets for third place… I guess I shouldn’t have been so quick to write them off at the All-Star Break – while they won’t make the playoffs, it’s certainly starting to look like the Phillies could finish 2012 with a better record than the Mets.

Chris Young (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Chris Young (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

It’s tempting to point to Edgin for giving Bruce too good a pitch to hit, and Manny Acosta for failing to record an out in the ninth inning as the reasons the Mets lost the series opener, but that’s really not the whole story.

Chris Young had one of the most strangely impressive outings of his Mets’ career. He was in trouble of his own making in every inning, allowing eight hits and four walks over 5 2/3innings, but he didn’t allow a run. And until the ninth inning, the bullpen was flawless. Ramon Ramirez bailed Young out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth, while Bobby Parnell and Jon Rauch pitched scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth.

The hitters let the team down again. The Mets’ offense left 10 batters on base and was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. No matter how good your team’s pitching is, you can’t win games if you don’t score runs.

“Obviously we’re not swinging the bats very good,” Terry Collins said after the game. “We talked all summer long that some place along the line we had to get David [Wright] some help. Right now he’s not swinging like he was in April. We’ve got to get some guys to step up and try to get some runs in.”

The Mets manager stopped short of criticizing the front office, instead directing his words to the players on the current 25-man roster. But the truth is, the Mets need to look outside the organization for some medium- and long-term help. Looking at the roster objectively, how many of the Mets’ position players would you want on your team? How many of them would be starters?

Wright told the New York Post that winning is more important to him than money when deciding where he wants to play when his current contract expires. When asked to assess the Mets’ progress towards building a winning team, Wright said “We’ve taken a baby step in the right direction and I still think there’s a long way to go…”

I guess we’ll find out soon enough if Sandy Alderson can sell Wright on his plan for rebuilding the Mets. Unless ownership is prepared to increase payroll above this year’s level, Alderson is not going to be able to make big changes in 2013. They’ll have to wait until 2014, when Johan Santana and Jason Bay come off the books. The problem is that Wright and R.A. Dickey, the Mets’ two best players, will also reach the ends of their contracts that winter.

If Alderson is not going to be able to re-sign his stars, it would be smarter to do the unthinkable and trade them this off-season. But with season tickets to sell and an All-Star Game to promote, who knows if ownership would let him make the best baseball move if that’s what it comes to?

Not a fun thing to think about… but it could be worse. Just look at the mess they have up in Boston.

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Bay injured, Mets lose

The New York Mets’ winning streak came crashing to an end Friday night.

Jason Bay (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

For Jason Bay, the crash was all too literal. In the second inning, he ran into the outfield wall while trying to field a ball hit by Jay Bruce that ended up as an inside the park home run. Bay left the game with a “possible concussion” while far too many people booed as he walked off the field.

Kevin Kernan of the New York Post writes that it’s time for the Mets to move on: “They cannot afford to keep waiting for Bay to return from an injury, then wait for him to turn it around offensively.”

There’s time enough to figure out what to do with Bay once the doctors determine the extent of his latest injury. Leaving aside his good fortune to secure that contract from the Mets, Bay has the worst luck of any athlete or celebrity I can think of — I just hope that he is able to make a full recovery.

Maybe Bay’s injury had an emotional impact on the team, or maybe Bronson Arroyo was just that good Friday night- but it’s amazing to realize that a lineup that destroyed the best pitching staff in the American League this week struggled against an aging journeyman who hadn’t won a game in more than a month.

Jonathon Niese will look to even the series Saturday night. Let’s go Mets!

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So long, D.J.

The Mets bullpen blew it again Wednesday night – this time, the goat was Jon Rauch.

signed 2010 St. Lucie Mets Robert Carson card from my collection

I’m sure all of the remaining relievers will have opportunities before the year is done, but at least Sandy Alderson finally made the decision to take D.J. Carrasco out of the picture after the Mets’ 6-3 loss to the Reds.

To take his place, Robert Carson was recalled from Binghamton. There are three reasons I’m happy about this:

  1. Carson has got to be more productive than Carrasco – it simply isn’t possible to do a worse job.
  2. Maybe Keith Hernandez will stop complaining about the bullpen’s lack of a second left-handed reliever.
  3. Carson spent a few days on the roster earlier this year, but never made it into a game. Now he gets another chance to avoid becoming an “almost” Met.

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Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Willie Harris, Jose Reyes & Lou Gehrig’s socks

Willie Harris' 2011 Topps Update baseball card

Noted Mets killer Willie Harris has signed minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds organization, according to beat reporter Mark Sheldon. If Harris makes the Reds out of spring training and reaches his incentives, he could earn $1 million.

This is good news for Harris, who has a job for 2012, and for the Mets (since Harris will have no more than six chances to hurt them this year.)

In other news, Beckett Media reports that Jose Reyes will have a short-printed variation baseball card picturing him as a Miami Marlin in Topps Series One, which is due to arrive in stores at the beginning of February. For collectors who miss out, Reyes will have a different, non-shortprint card in Series Two.

Also from Beckett Media, a pair of socks worn by Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig sold for nearly $9,000 at a recent auction. Who said the economy isn’t doing fine? Sigh.

Only 27 more days until the official start of spring training for the New York Mets.

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Redsfest is this weekend… think we’ll ever see a “Metsfest” ?

The Cincinnati Reds will host their annual Redsfest event today and tomorrow. Last year, more than 21,000 fans attended the two day event. Admission is $25, but fans will receive a complimentary ticket for a weekday Reds game in April.

Current and former players will be on hand to sign autographs, and there will be “hot stove” talks with Reds management and a variety of kids activities.

Several other teams have similar winter events.

I wonder what it would take to get Mets ownership to consider joining in the fun…