Michael Conforto returned from the disabled list and homered in his first start. Yoenis Cespedes hit his third home run of the season. Jay Bruce made his first home run of the year a grand slam. If Jacob deGrom didn’t quite have everything working, he battled and he got the outs when they really mattered.
I know the Mets are not going to keep up this pace to have a 135-27 season, but I’m gonna enjoy this run while it lasts.
The fans in Pittsburgh watched Andrew McCutchen play his last game as a Pirate on tv Oct. 1. He went one-for-three, hitting a double off of Gio Gonzelez and left the game for a pinch-runner. The Pirates went on to win 11-8 over the playoff-bound Washington Nationals, notching their 75th and final victory of 2017.
The Giants, very much in win-now mode, will be interesting to watch. In addition to McCutchen, they added longtime Tampa Bay Rays star third baseman Evan Longoria this offseason. I don’t remember the last time a team acquired two players who were so strongly identified with a different franchise in one winter. Neither is the star that they once were, but magical things seem to happen in San Francisco.
The Pirates are clearly hoping to build for the future. Crick gives them a potentially interesting reliever who’s ready to help at the big league level and Reynolds gives them a lottery ticket for 2020 or so. Given the lackluster return Pittsburgh got for two years of Gerrit Cole, this isn’t an awful package for one year McCutchen.
But it’s the end of an era that once showed such promise in Pittsburgh, and it’s sad that the team wasn’t able to do more when they had McCutchen than go to the playoffs three times and only advance to the Divisional Series once.
And more bad news for Pirates fans… team owner Bob Nutting says this cycle is going to keep happening until there’s a “fundamental redesign of the economics of baseball; that’s not what we’re going to have.”
But as frustrating as it’s gotta be, at least the Pirates have a plan and an owner willing to take some responsibility for the team’s moves. You can argue that Nutting should be willing to risk more of his own money or sell the team to someone who is, but he’s out there sharing his point of view with the media and the fans. (Contrast that with Mets ownership, where everyone is content to let GM Sandy Alderson take all the fallout from unpopular moves even though it’s unclear what financial resources he’s got to work with.)
Mets’ nemesis Yadier Molina says he plans to retire after his current contract with the St. Louis Cardinals expires in 2020. That’s hardly surprising, since I don’t see a ton of teams wanting to give a 37-year-old catcher another big contract even if he was the best backstop of his generation.
The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball is a league of second chances.
Minor League Baseball teams are affiliated with Major League Baseball teams. New Jersey’s Trenton Thunder are a New York Yankees’ farm team, while the Lakewood Blue Claws are affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies. These major league clubs supply the players and coaches to staff the minor league teams. If you go to see them, you’ll be able to watch a handful of players the big league squads consider as prospects as well as a larger number of “organization guys” that are needed to complete the roster.
Each year, some of the “prospects” lose their shine and some of the “organization guys” get pushed out by someone younger or more talented. Independent baseball teams like the ones in the Atlantic League give these displaced players another shot to prove their worth to one of the 30 big league team. Sometimes, it works out — before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he pitched in the playoffs in 2016, Rich Hill spent a summer with the Long Island Ducks. More often, guys just get to keep playing for an extra season or two.
The New York Mets wrapped up their regular season home schedule with a 17-0 rout of the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday. I made it to two of their 81 home contests, my fewest since Citi Field opened.
I’m ok with that, though I wish I’d gone to at least one game on my own so I could wander around the ballpark without annoying anyone else. I have less patience for the travel – going to a game in Queens means I spend almost as much time on trains as I do watching baseball. And I have to admit, the ballpark was easier to get around when there weren’t 30,000+ people there most nights.
Back in April, I think we all had visions of the Mets repeating as National League East champions and going back to the World Series, this time to win it all. The second part of that dream could still happen, but Daniel Murphy is the only one who got to celebrate two consecutive division titles. Continue reading “We want playoffs”→