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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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Mets fail Friday the 13th “fire time” test

It seems fitting that if the Mets had to open the second half of the season in Atlanta, they’d do it on Friday the 13th.

Josh Edgin's 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects baseball cardAnd it was definitely a Friday the 13th game, both in terms of the horrorshow outcome and general weirdness.

  • The lights went out in Atlanta in the top of the second inning, though to those of us at home it seemed like SNY was just in a hurry to get to the commercial break. The delay lasted less than 20 minutes, but it probably would have been better if the lights didn’t come back on.
  • When Atlanta’s Jack Wilson slipped while going after a ball, he dislocated a finger and had to leave the game. This forced Martin Prado to play shortstop for the first time in four years, because Atlanta never replaced Andrelton Simmons on the active roster after he broke a finger the day before the All-Star Break.
  • Johan Santana was originally going to get the starting nod, until Reed Johnson stepped on his ankle last week. Then the Mets were going to turn to Dillon Gee, but he’s probably done for the season after having surgery to repair arterial damage in his right shoulder. So Chris Young ended up starting the game, and he just didn’t have it.


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Byrdak joins list of Mets on Twitter

Tim Byrdak (@Givemethelefty) is the latest New York Mets player to join Twitter.

Sample tweet:!/Givemethelefty/status/181086811534266368

The veteran relief pitcher joins a list that includes fellow bullpen member Jon Rauch (@jrauch60), starting pitchers Johan Santana (@johansantana) and R.A. Dickey (@RADickey43), infielder Justin Turner (@redturn2), backup catcher candidate Lucas May (@LukedogKC), and potential relief pitchers  Garrett Olson (@Oly49), Jeremy Hefner (@JeremyHefner17), Josh Edgin (@joshedgin37), and Chris Schwinden (@CSchwinny). (Neither Olson nor Edgin have been particularly active on Twitter since the beginning of spring training.)

(Andrew Vazzano has compiled a full list of Mets players on Twitter, including several dozen minor leaguers, and has posted a page on The ‘Ropolitans that shows their latest tweets)

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson also had his own Twitter account (@MetsGM), which received a lot of notoriety before spring training got underway, but he hasn’t used it since February 28th.

Catcher Josh Thole was the first Mets player to embrace Twitter last year, but decided to delete his account last May because he was frustrated with criticism he received from fans. Let’s hope the Mets players who are on Twitter now have better experiences.