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Saturday, April 10, 2004

Mets 3, Expos 2
W: Weathers (1-0)
L: Ayala (0-2)
S: Moreno (1)

Game Notes
Art Howe- What was he doing during the game? Taking out three of the Mets best hitters (Piazza, Floyd, Phillips) in a game where they are only up by 2 runs. CRAZY! I mean, I know Piazza and Floyd are having leg problems and Phillips isn’t the greatest defensive first baseman, but can’t he leave at least one good hitter in.
Tyler Yates- Great start! Finally a pitcher on the Mets who can be overpowering. He went 6 innings and only gave up 5 hits which striking out 4. He also didn’t walk anyone. Very impressive. I know it was only against the Expos but it was his first major league start and watching him face Vidro and overpower him his first at bat was just beautiful. He looked comfortable out on the mound and hopefully next time Art will let him stay in the game for longer if he’s pitching this good.
Mets Bullpen- This has been giving me nightmares. Can anyone get a guy out? Once again, the Mets had a lead and the bullpen (Stanton and Looper) blew it. On a good note though, Moreno looked great closing the game. He has some good stuff.
Mets Offense- So far this year, the Mets offense has looked great. They have scored 25 runs so far, and it seems like everyone, for the most part, is contributing. Everyone in last nights starting line-up other than Gutierrez and Wiggy, are batting at least .286. And, Gutierrez will return to the bench soon when Reyes comes back, and Wiggy hopefully will make adjustments. Remember though, he is hitting in what most think is the hardest spot in the batting order because they can just pitch around him.
Kaz Matsui- 3 walks. WOW. Kaz has walked 7 times this year. So much for no plate discipline. He also had two hits last, one of which was a double. However, he was thrown out stealing and thrown out at the plate in the 9th. Speaking of the attempted stolen base, you don’t always get there and he was also running against a catcher who led the NL in caught stealing %. He should still run a lot and not become scared because he was thrown out once. When he was going home in the ninth, I could not believe they sent him home. I know he is fast but it was the 9th inning in a tie game and the outfielder had already gotten the ball when he passed third. Well, at least they won. Nice Hit Zeile!

MVP of the Game- Tyler Yates (pitched great in his first big league start and hopefully was the begging of many great things to come.)
LVP of the Game- Stanton and Looper (they can’t even hold a 2 run lead for a kid who made his major league debut and pitched great. Shame! Shame! Shame!)

Mike Piazza
Piazza will make his first major league start at first base tomorrow. I think it is good he is getting some time in at first. He is never going to be a good defensive first basemen, but hopefully he will be around average. This should get him some rest as he has been playing a lot of catcher, which is very tiring. Not only that, this game will be the first day game following a night game of the year.

Seo To Get The Start
Jae Seo apparently will get a start after all. The Mets have Seo scheduled in to pitch Wednesday against the Braves at Shea.

Can It Get Any Worse
Look at this from the Daily News:
The return of Jose Reyes (hamstring) isn't close. "There's still no real significant progress," GM Jim Duquette said.
It seems like he won’t be back for a long time and it is taking much longer to heal than expected. Let’s just hope and pray!

Minor League Update
Indians 4, Tides 2
1B Craig Brazell hit his first HR of the season.
RF Diaz had a good night at the plate going 2-5 with a SB.
J Griffiths pitched 5 strong innings, allowing 5 hits and 1 ER with 1 walk and no K’s.
Royce Ring took the loss, allowing 3 H and 1ER in 2 1/3 IP.

B-Mets 9, Navigators 3
3B David Wright went 2-4 with a HR, a 2B, a BB, and a SB.
2B Chase Lambin went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and a walk.
Jose Diaz went 3 innings giving up 4 hits and 1 run, while walking 2 and striking out 3.
Ken Chenard went 4 innings. He gave up 2 hits and 1 run, walked 3 and struck out 3.

Dodgers 5, St. Lucie Mets 2
CF Jon Slack went 2-2 with 2 SB, and 2 BB.
Brian Bannister allowed 6 H and 4 ER in 5 innings, but struck out 6 and walked no one.

Bombers 5, Catfish 4
1B Bladergroe went 2-3 with 2 runs.
Osberg went 5 innings giving up 6 hits and 3 runs, while walking none and striking out 7.

Tonights Game
Leiter will be on the mound for the first time the season tonight. He first appearance was delayed because he was hit in his temple from a line drive. He reported to spring training in much better shape and that is a good sign. Last year he had mixed results. At the beginning of the season, he was horrible. However, in the second half he was one of the best pitchers in the majors. Last year, he had a EQERA of 4.70. He needs to gain better control this year or he’s in for a ride. The starting pitcher for the Expos is John Patterson. Last year he was on the Diamondbacks and recorded a EQERA of 5.08 though he is only 26 years old and will improve. Here are their scouting reports:

Leiter is an intelligent pitcher who is a capable of dominating hitters even though his stuff is not overpowering. His hard, cut fastball sits in the 90-92 MPH range and possesses incredible sinking action just prior to reaching the plate, making it most difficult for righthanded hitters to hit. He uses his slider and regular fastball mostly against lefthanded hitters, always working the outside half of the dish. His changeup also is an effective offering, provided it stays low in the strike zone. Leiter gets in trouble when he fails to complete the follow-through in his delivery, which causes his pitches to rise.
And now Patterson’s scouting report:

Patterson threw in the mid-90s before reconstructive elbow surgery in 2000. Now he tops out at about 92-93 MPH. He still has a sharp, 12-to-6 curve he can throw for strikes or bounce in the dirt when looking for a swinging strike, but his split-finger is a work in progress.

It should be an exciting game!

Friday, April 09, 2004

Braves 10, Mets 8

Game Notes
Scott Erickson- This makes me mad. To start off, I didn't want him in the rotation in the first place. Then he took Jae Seo’s spot which mad me even madder. Now he gets hurt 11 minutes into warming up. He thinks he will back so though, and the Mets don’t need a fifth starter for a few weeks anyway because of the schedule.
Dan Wheeler- I thought he did a fairly good job, considering he only knew he was starting right before the game and had no time to prepare.
Mets Bullpen- The bullpen is a disaster. No one can get a guy out. Everyone in their bullpen other than Looper has an ERA over 6.00. I know it’s early in the season so the ERA’s are inflated but the bullpen can’t stop anyone. Franco looked horrible last night and when Weathers came in I was relieved at first because last year he could get someone out but I guess not this year.
Mets Defense- The Mets made 3 errors. Two of them came from their two big defensive players they acquired this past winter, Cameron, and Kaz. Cameron looked horrible out there yesterday. Its just one game and no one is perfect and hopefully our defense will improve.

Jason Anderson
Jason Anderson was claimed off waivers by the Indians yesterday. I liked Anderson but the Mets had to make room for Matt Ginter so it’s baseball. It makes me mad though because this means we pretty much got nothing for Benitez.

Kazmir Hurt
Scott Kazmir, the Mets top pitching prospect, suffered from pain in his midsection. He was removed from the game right away but thinks it might have occurred earlier in the week while he was running. Kazmir is listed as day-to-day, though I’m sure the Mets will be really care with him as they have always been.

Heilman Pitching Great
Heres what rotoworld had to say:
Aaron Heilman fanned nine while allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings for Triple-A Norfolk yesterday.
They added:
If Heilman hadn't been pitching, it's possible that he, not Jae Seo, would have been called up following Scott Erickson's injury. He'll get his opportunity eventually.

Yankees on Trial
Last night, on ESPN, at 7 o’clock, was a program called, “Break Up the Yankees: The Yankees on Trial.” ESPN held a mock trial questioning whether the Yankees overspending was upsetting the competitiveness in baseball. The judge was Catherine Crier, who was once a real judge but now a court TV host. The mock prosecutor was Alan Dershowitz, and the mock defendant was Bruce Cutler. There were four witnesses from each side. Alan Dershowitz knew from the beginning it wasn’t going to be easy, as the last three World Series weren’t won by the Yankees but small market teams. Some of the people that testified included Jim Bouton and Mike Veeck. Culter’s argument was that the Yankees still have to be competitive as they haven’t won the World Series in 3 years and all three that won it were small market teams. Dershowitz argued that the Yankees are on another level that teams because of their money and that is the only reason they are good. As Dershowitz said in his closing argument, “We hear the Yankees and Steinbrenner are great, but we don’t know because of their money.” He added that no one would ever know if Steinbrenner is truly amazing “unless we level the playing field.” As Jim Bowden pointed out though, “Why aren’t the Red Sox on trial?” They have approx. $120 million payroll, which is about $90 million dollars more than the lowest team. He went on to add that the problem is not with the Yankees, but with the system. Dershowitz argued that the Yankees have made the free agent market into a league of their own. Culter argued back, that any team has a chance too win these days and that if some of the small market teams used the money they gained from revenue sharing instead of putting it in their pocket, they would improve. Dershowitz argued back that the small market teams don’t bother because they know they don’t have a chance. In the end, the jury voted, 10-2, in favor of the Yankees though it was a little unfair. The verdict was decided by majority, and when each person said what they voted, they also had to say why. About half of the peoples reason’s didn’t awsner the question. How does a reason like I vote no because I think the Yankees are the symbol of America answer the question: is the Yankees overspending was upsetting the competitiveness in baseball. It doesn’t. However, the fans that voted online voted 73% against the Yankees showing that true baseball fans that understand the game realize it is. In conclusion, I feel that, as Jim Bowden said, the problem is with the system but starts with the Yankees. I feel that a team that has more money during the season has a better chance but during the playoffs the ball is in anyone’s court. As one juror said, “If baseball was Monopoly, I feel like the Yankees would start the season with $25,000 and everyone else with nothing. Money does help but the Yankees aren’t doing anything wrong. They are playing by the rules and until baseball realizes the luxury tax isn’t doing jack and makes a salary cap or makes some significant changes in the revenue sharing policies, baseball is not going to be as competitive a sport as it could be.

Mets Third Most Valuable Franchise
Yesterday, Forbes magazine estimated the Mets are worth $442 million. Ahead of the Mets, in second is the Red Sox, at $553 million, and in first, is the Yankees, at $832 million. The team that is the least valuable is the Expos estimated at $145 million.

Tonight’s Game
Yates will be on the mound for the first time. He is the first power arm the Mets have had in a long time and it will be exciting to see him pitch. He is going up against Zach Day who had a 4.32 EQERA last year. Here is his scouting report (no scouting report for Yates because he hasn’t pitched in the majors):
Day relies on a hard sinker that ranges from 88-92 MPH. He'll mix in a slow curve that has a medium break, a slider and changeup. His sinker is extremely hard to elevate, and his 2.72 groundball-flyball ratio was third-best in the National League among pitchers with at least 20 starts. Day keeps his infielders happy by working quickly and, on days he has his control, throwing strikes. He tends to miss low and/or away when he's struggling. In addition to improving his control, he will need to refine one of his other pitches to keep hitters off-balance on days his sinker isn't there.

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