Friday, May 24, 2019

A Metsian Podcast Memorial Day Weekend Special with Mets Musings

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


with Sam, Rich, and Mike


1 hour 18 minutes

First Third of the Season ~ Mets vs. N.L. East
Apocalypse Miami ~ Media Turning on Wilpons
Player Meeting ~ Front Office Meeting ~ Monday Presser
Jeff ~ Brodie Owns It ~ Sweep the Nationals
Starting Rotation ~ Callaway and Edwin Diaz
Carlos Gomez ~ Keon Broxton ~ Rajai Davis
Brandon Nimmo ~ Michael Conforto
George Steinbrenner and Charlie Finley
and so much more..!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

L.I. Ducks: Flock Off To Forge New Rivalry at High Point

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Welcome to North Carolina

The Tar Heel State

Long Islands Ducks: Flock Migrate to North Carolina For First Ever Series Against High Point Rockers.

They had better be careful, too.  The new age Rockers mean business.  Like the Sugar Land Skeeters of several years back, High Point enters the league straightaway prepared to compete.  A quick glance through the early standings say it all.  The expansion Rockers trail the Ducks by a mere half game in the Liberty Division standings.  Long Island meanwhile trails the Somerset Patriots by only fractions, but otherwise enter Tuesday's action tied for first place.  However, High Point enters the upcoming series at BB&T Point with a 15-8 record and riding a six game win streak while the Ducks enter with a 16-8 mark and winners of their last two.

The series presents an opportunity for Long Island manager Wally Backman and Frank Viola to get reacquainted.  Backman and Viola worked extensively both separately and together throughout all levels of the Mets minor league system.  Viola now serves as Rockers pitching coach.

High Point leads the circuit with a .286 team average and .456 slugging average.  Meanwhile the Ducks rate second to last with a .248 average, and sixth in team slugging with a .370 mark.  However, Long Island leads the league in runs scored with High Point a close second.  The Ducks also lead the circuit in strikeouts being the first team to break the 200 mark.

Pitching wise, the Rockers rank first with a 3.15 team ERA.  The Ducks are third with a 3.39 ERA, but easily lead in strikeouts and boast the league's second best WHiP.

N.Y. Rangers: John Davidson Back Where He Belongs



New York Rangers: A Marriage Made in Blue Shirt Heaven

I like many fans found myself in a better place when after nearly two full decades of putting up with Glen Sather's crap he finally stepped down as general manager of the Rangers.  I was similarly pleased with the appointment of Jeff Gorton as his successor.  Even better was when both he and Sather together announced the club would be initiating a rebuild.

I've always believed Jeff Gorton to be his own man.  His resume previous to his employment with the Rangers stands on its own.  He partly helped build the Bruins into the team we know today.  As a member of Boston's front office for most of the 1990's and midway through the 2000's he gained practical experience in team building as assistant general manager.  As we've seen throughout these playoffs, Boston is still in the midst of an extended and very successful run.  I care not why Boston let him go, but felt all along the Rangers were fortunate to secure him when they did.  However, for as long as Sather remained every one's superior I remained forever leery of his existence influence over and above Jeff Gorton and his assumed autonomy moving forward.

Due to recent developments, I'm happy to announce that I no longer harbor suspicions regarding Glen Sather's role with the Rangers - not with John Davidson in the house.  J.D. is not coming back to the Garden if it means having Glen Sather looking over his shoulder, or worse, meddling.  Davidson  possesses a far stronger backbone than that.  He was his own man at St. Louis, and his own man at Columbus, and will continue being his own man as the Rangers lead man in charge.

Davidson also arrives at a rather opportune time.  Gorton has assembled a small army of prospects whom still require extensive evaluation.  He's also inheriting significant salary cap maneuverability, and is extremely well positioned heading into the June entry draft.

I'm copacetic with all of it.

All these decades later, watching a young goalie named John Davidson celebrating with his Rangers team mates after helping defeat the Islanders in the 1979 conference finals still feels like yesterday to me.  As an impressionable 11-year old at the time the memory of that game and that night remain  vivid as ever.  As a broadcaster, his game calls and analysis were brilliant, while his "Oh, Baby!" became the catchphrase for the next generation of fans.  Then he left to run hockey clubs.  Throughout his time as an executive with the St. Louis Blues then with the Columbus Blue Jackets I longed for him to be the Rangers chief executive.

Now we got him.

I couldn't be happier.

Amazin' Date 5/21/1969: Tom Seaver's Gem Lifts Mets to New Heights

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Game #36: Wednesday, May 21, 1969 - BR
New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Stadium

The Amazin' Mets Under Gil Hodges Reach the Elusive .500 Mark.

For a third time this season the Mets are winners of three straight.  Opening a two game set against the Braves, Tom Seaver climbed the hill at Atlanta Stadium and was opposed once again by Phil Niekro.  The game was not dissimilar to their match-up on May 14 in which Tom Seaver outlasted Niekro for the victory.  Only this time the 24-year old Seaver may have turned in his finest performance to date, limiting the Braves to just three hits and two walks with two strikeouts over nine complete innings of shutout ball.

The Mets tallied all their five runs off Niekro.  Tommie Agee opened the game with a double to right.  With one out Ken Boswell also doubled to right, but Agee was held up by third base coach Eddie Yost not wanting to test the throwing arm of Hank Aaron.  Cleon Jones made his coach look smart with a single to left plating both Agee and Boswell for a 2-0 first inning lead.

Phil Niekro again pitched himself into trouble in the eighth.  After yielding a one-out hit to Cleon Jones, the knuckle-baller loaded the bases with walks issued to both Ed Kranepool and J.C. Martin.  With two outs, Bud Harrelson wiped the bases clean with a triple into the right/center field gap.

Mets     5
Braves  0

Tom Seaver improved his record to 6-2 and now sports a 1.96 ERA.  Tommie Agee, Ken Boswell, and Cleon Jones all had multiple-hit games.  Manager Hodges put his runners in motion against Niekro, as the Mets stole three bases in the game.

The Mets improved to 18-18 on the season.  You can mark it down, the Amazins' are off to their best ever start.  Let the record show May 21, 1969, is the latest date the team has been at .500 or better in any of their previous seven seasons of existence.
  • Mets Record:  18-18
  • N.L. East:  3rd; 5 GB

Monday, May 20, 2019

N.Y. Mets: The Great Robinson Cano Conundrum

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

First time shame on me; Second time shame on you

Robinson Cano: To Hustle Or Not To Hustle Is Never A Question.

Two very specific incidences involving Robinson Cano's performance at Miami (or lack thereof) have fans back home and around the known Metsian universe up in arms.

Lower your arms fellow fans, as nothing will change.

Truth is ...

Moreover, I do not foresee the Mets plugging him into the starting line-up upon their return home to Citi Field on Monday night for sake of avoiding having their premiere player being showered with boos by irate fans.  We all know how much the Wilpons hate stuff like that.  The front office will chalk it up to needing a day off (during a home stand, because that makes sense).

Although Cano's utter blindness for appearances is tough to reconcile, none of us should be taken aback.  We locally were all aware throughout his first nine seasons with the Yankees (2005~2013) of Cano's battle with UDDLHS (urgency deficit disorder and lack of hustle syndrome).  Brodie Van Wagenen knew it too.  But no one cared much for as long as he played in the Bronx, or better yet in complete anonymity at Seattle.  Now that Brodie has imported Cano to Flushing Mets fans are aghast with what they see ...

... a 36-year old second baseman who is owed $24 million a year through the 2023 season, slashing a limp .245/.293/.374, with just three home runs and 13 RBI through 163 at-bats.  Through the first quarter season we've watched Cano compromise even the team's worst laid plans.  He's been consistent with making excuses, but not so much wielding a bat.

Brodie took on $120 millions dollars of pure risk in the hopes Cano would spearhead the Mets offense.  His investment has thus far yielded nothing but losses.  In fact, Sunday's non-effort makes five losses in a row for the Mets.  In order to hedge said losses, the manager's employment is now in jeopardy.

Sort of like trickle down economics ...

Sunday, May 19, 2019

N.Y. Mets: Mickey Callaway's Clock Reads Two Minutes To Midnight

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

As the sham slowly unravels, Mets will execute textbook 
maneuver and wipe out the manager and coaching staff.

I believe the recent meeting between Jeff Wilpon, BVW, and Mickey Callaway, was more like two people doing all the talking and one person doing all the listening.

Callaway is not the Mets overwhelming problem.  He's not even the second, third, or fourth most serious issue afflicting the club.  But he's likely to pay the price for being a problem nonetheless.  Because when the text book calls for a fall guy, the manager is usually the first to go.

It's unfortunate how badly Brodie Van Wagenen's new look roster is failing Mickey.  But with no extra money to spend, and virtually no more prospects to either utilize or trade, Brodie Van Wagenen must impact the team in even newer and more creative ways than ever.  That said, I've long believed BVW would love nothing more than to replace Callaway.  After all, Brodie did not hire him.  All he needs is justifiable cause in order to make an in-season switch - something even uncommon to the Mets.  And it now appears as if Brodie has all the cause he needs: a sub-par record, and a listless performance against the dregs of the league.  There is little defense for losing two straight (and the series) against moribund Miami Marlins club, much less getting shut out with but one hit to show on Saturday.  In a dugout interview on Saturday, BVW's detachment from Callaway appeared to outwardly manifest, if for a moment.

I also sense firing Mickey Callaway alone will not suffice.  While this weekend's losing series against Miami may have effectively sealed his fate, I do not believe Mickey is the only person under threat of sudden unemployment.  The only way for Brodie to keep perpetuating this bold new narrative is to expand the purge.  Hitting coach Chili Davis may get the ax, as well as assistant hitting coach Tom Slater.  In fact, I wouldn't put it past BVW to fire Glenn Sherlock and Gary Disarcina, particularly where it concerns Disarcina's seemingly ineffective work with Amed Rosario.

Dave Eiland ... tough call.

Otherwise Jeff Wilpon needs fall guys and he needs them now.

And so I expect extensive, albeit cosmetic changes are forthcoming.

N.Y. Jets: Brothers Johnson Foster Subversion From Within

From the desk of:  WALT MICHAELS REVENGE


Firing Mike Maccagnan was the right move.  But it's the Brothers Johnson whom must ground themselves if the New York Jets are to fly.

Truth be told Mike Maccagnan deserved to be fired.  However, the timing and mysterious  circumstances surrounding his dismissal - not to mention the great folly of it all - are just too typical.  Hence the fan and media outrage.

I agree with those who believe Maccagnan and Todd Bowles should have been relieved as a pair, just as Rex Ryan and John Idzik were relieved together of their respective duties.  Despite enjoying a measure of success during his first season working with Bowles, Maccagnan purged a gaggle of talented players during the ensuing off-season.  But like John Idzik did (or didn't do) with Rex Ryan, Maccagnan spent nary a dollar of his salary cap reserves during Todd Bowles' last three seasons as Jets coach.  And like John Idzik, much of Maccagnan's drafting also left much to be desired ... save for Sam Darnold.  And just as John Idzik didn't hire Rex Ryan, Maccangan similarly didn't hire Todd Bowles.  To the subjective observer it seemed as if both general managers did everything possible to sabotage their respective head coaches.

To that I say look no further than the Brothers Johnson.  This is their standard operating procedure working to the letter.  It's the Jets way.  For the Brothers Johnson have long provided a direct line of communication for their head coach and a workplace environment whereby both head coach and general manager invariably wind up putting more effort into saving their own respective jobs rather than working jointly towards a common cause.  The fact Adam Gase is here and Mike Maccagnan is not only further confirms this dynamic.

Under the Johnsons the Jets have lacked long term vision, front office commitment, and operational discipline.  Each passing administration merely piles on to the growing scrapheap of failed short term ideas.  That's because Woody nor Christopher have never ordered a definitive course of action.  They never once gave a general manager and head coach specific orders and tasked them with seeing things through.  Neither Johnson brother has ever said strip it down; rebuild; or get me to the Super Bowl or else.  For better or worse, the Brothers Johnson have effectively left those decisions to the mix of overlapping regimes they themselves marry together then leave them to go about their business.  Meanwhile behind the scenes the head coach and general manager are at each other like spy vs. spy until their contracts come up for renewal.

This process has repeated itself over and over, and yet again this past Wednesday.  Through it we've learned how the Brothers Johnson front office model fosters subversion from within.

Mike Tannenbaum was the presiding general manager when Woody Johnson and the Jets fired Eric Mangini then handed over the controls to Rex Ryan.  That was the last sound decision made by either brother.  Because when Tannanbaum was fired, Idzik was forced by Johnson into retaining Rex Ryan.  When both were let go, Christopher Johnson ponderously hired his head coach first, then his general manager second.  Fast forward and Todd Bowles is let go, but Maccagnan is retained.  He in turn partakes in the decision to bring Adam Gase on board.  But in the absence of a chain of command, or any semblance of command and control, Gase promptly circumvents the general manager and successfully politics the owner for Maccagnan's removal (I don't care what Christopher Johnson says.  In fact, his version only worsens matters).

If the plan to fire Maccagnan was already in the place, then why allow him to spend the team's salary cap reserves, and preside over the recent draft.  In that regard I sing with the chorus: Same Old Jets.  And why not?  Just when the organization seemed in the midst of positioning themselves in a more positive light they've recast a chilling shade upon the entire operation.

What in the name of Weeb Ewbank is Christopher Johnson doing handing over controls of Gang Green Airways to a man with a sub par record in three seasons as head coach of Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins?  They're not even fish; they're mammals.  What the hell good is living in water if you're consistently having to come up for air!?  And why the hell is a head coach hired four months ago suddenly in a position to hire the Jets next general manager?

I'm sure somewhere even Rich Kotite is laughing at this one ...

Stop this vicious cycle of pitting incompatible head coaches and general managers against each other.

The Brothers Johnson need to hire an alpha executive and get out of the way.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Another Metsian Date Night Podcast with That Mets Chick, Bre

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

There was something about that 1976 season that ...

with SAM, RICH, and MIKE


Ninety Minutes

First Quarter of the Season ~ Series vs. Nationals
Keon Broxton ~ Carlos Gomez ~ Brandon Nimmo ~ Juan Lagares
The Jeff/BVW/Mickey Pow Pow
Jeff McNeil ~ Michael Conforto ~ The 25-Man Roster
Anthony Kay ~ Robinson Cano
Kevin Plawecki ~ Dave Kingman ~ Terry Leach
More about that 1976 season, and much much more.

Amazin' Date 5/17/1969: Mets Take Second Straight at Crosley Field

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Game #35: Saturday, May 17, 1969 - BR
New York Mets @ Cincinnati Reds
Crosley Field

Mets score early and often en route to sweep of Cincinnati Reds.

Tommy Agee's game opening double off Cincy starter Jim Maloney was merely a harbinger of things to come.  Wayne Garrett followed with a single to center scoring Agee.  Then suddenly Maloney required relief.  Reds manager Dave Bristol summoned Jack Fisher from the bullpen.  After issuing a base on balls to Ken Boswell, Tommy Agee connected on his seventh home run of the season.

After which, the rout was on.  The Mets would strike for another seven runs on nine hits.  J.C. Martin hit his second home of the season in the third, plating Ed Kranepool.  Cleon Jones led the Mets with four runs batted in, giving him 28 RBI in 35 games played.  Wayne Garrett went 3 for 5 with a triple, two RBI, and two runs scored.  Tommie Agee is now batting .313 for the season after going 2 for 5 with three runs scored and one RBI.  The Mets amassed 14 hits and were 5 for 11 with runners in scoring position.  They outscored the Reds in the two game series by a 21-12 margin.

Mets  11
Reds    3

Despite yielding 12 hits, starter Gary Gentry evened his record at 3-3 after limiting Cincinnati to three earned runs over nine complete innings pitched with six strikeouts.

The Mets are now just one game away from reaching the .500 mark.
  • Mets Record:  17-18
  • N.L. East:  3rd; 6.5 GB

Thursday, May 16, 2019

N.Y. Mets: Thor's Economy Trending Bullish

From the desk of:  HEAD BUTTING MR. MET

Noah Syndergaard Polishing His Hammer

Noah Syndergaard made his eighth start of the season Tuesday evening at Washington.  To date, it was easily his best performance this season in three starts against the Nationals.
  • 3/30 - (No Decision @ WAS) 6 inn; 4 ER; 7 hits; 0 W; 7 K.  His 103 pitches against 25 batters faced translates into an average of 4.12 pitches per batter.  Over six innings he averaged 17.1 pitches per inning.
  • 4/4 - (Loss @ N.Y.) 6 inn; 2 ER; 1 H; 2 W; 6 K.  His 98 pitches against 21 batters faced translates to 4.66 pitches per batter, while total pitches divided by six innings equals an average of 16.3 pitches per inning.
  • 5/14 - (Win @ WAS) Syndergaard yielded two earned runs on just four hits and one walk with six strikeouts through eight innings pitched (he yielded a home run to Victor Robles in the sixth).  He threw 102 total pitches with 64 (63%) going for strikes.  He faced 28 batters, averaging an improved 3.64 pitches per batter, and averaged an equally improved 12.75 pitches per inning.

As I always say: once is an event, twice is a coincidence; and three times is a trend.  On that note Noah is now 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA over his last three starts.  He entered the month of May with a 6.35 ERA and has since lowered it to 4.74 upon yielding six earned runs on 17 hits and just three walks, with 21 strikeouts over his last 21 innings pitched.  He tossed a complete game effort on May 2 over the Reds, then turned in another eight inning effort on Tuesday.  In each instance Syndergaard provided the bullpen with much needed relief.  So perhaps Thor is finally on to something significant.

With that in mind, it wasn't too long ago, April 15 in fact, that Syndergaard surrendered five earned runs on nine hits and three walks with nine strikeouts in just five innings against the Phillies.  He faced 25 batters and threw 102 pitches which translates to just over four pitches per batter, and 20.4 pitches per inning.  This was sandwiched between a pair of similar efforts on April 10 against Minnesota, and April 21 at Philadelphia.  But therein lies the extent of this season's rough stretch.

I've never questioned Noah Syndergaard repertoire.  It's his craftsmanship or lack thereof that I wonder about.  But there's no doubt he is pitching more efficiently of late.  Thor has now faced 234 batters this season over the course of 65 innings pitched which averages out to 3.6 batters faced per inning.  Presently sitting at 929 in-game pitches thrown this season he is averaging 14.29 pitches per inning which unlike last season effectually makes him a seven inning pitcher.  That's a full inning better than last season.

Which is to say the more of a craftsman he becomes, the better off he'll be.

Amazin' Date 5/16/1969: Mets Seventh Inning Outburst Overwhelms Reds

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

New York Mets @ Cincinnati Reds
Crosley Field

Tommie Agee caps comeback; Koonce holds on for victory

It's the Reds turn to host the Mets.

Starting in place of Jerry Koosman, Tug McGraw climbed the hill in game one at Crosley Field on Friday.  The Mets jumped Reds starter Jack Fisher straightaway for six hits and two runs, knocking him out of the box after just 1.1 innings of work.  However, McGraw would surrender an RBI single to left fielder Alex Johnson in the third, then yield Lee May's eighth home run of the season in the fourth.

Mets  10
Reds    9

After trading runs in the fifth, Ed Kranepool led off the top of the sixth with a double, then scored the go ahead run on Tug McGraw's bouncer to second (fielder's choice).  But the Mets lead was fleeting.  Leading off the bottom half of the frame Tommy Helms and Johnny Bench stroked consecutive singles off McGraw.  Manager Hodges relieved McGraw with Ron Taylor.  Pinch hitter Jimmy Stewart promptly introduced himself with a three run home run for a 6-4 Reds lead.

Wayne Garrett led off the seventh with a hit, then advanced to second on a passed ball.  With two outs, the Mets proceeded to bat around the order, mustering six runs on another seven hits for an abrupt 10-6 turnaround.  Undaunted, Cincinnati rallied for three runs off Cal Koonce in the bottom half of the frame, which included a Johnny Bench home run.

Koonce regrouped to retire seven of his next nine batters to close out the Reds and earn his second victory of the season.

Tommie Agee's onslaught continues - he went 2 for 5 with a triple and two decisive runs batted in.  Rod Gaspar also had two RBI.  Ed Kranepool went 3 for 5 with one RBI just as Bud Harrelson was 3 for 5 also with an RBI.

  • Mets Record: 16-18 (.470)
  • N.L. East: 3rd; 7.5 GB

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

L.I. Ducks: Former Mets Join to Upend Crabs in Ninth

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Ducks @ Crabs tied 1-1
I - SMD 3; LID 2
II - LID 2; SMD 1

Long Island Ducks: Flock Return Favor With Ninth Inning Effort; Knot Four Game Series at One.

There's no need to fear ... Darin Downs is still here!

With MLB declaring open season on Ducks pitching, Long Island suddenly finds themselves needing extra added quality from their remaining starters.  Over their last respective starts, Bennett Parry and Darrin Downs have provided just that.

The indispensable third year Ducks hurler limited the Blue Crabs to an earned run on just four hits and a walk with ten strikeouts through seven innings pitched in game two at Southern Maryland.  He faced 26 batters, while throwing 93 pitches with 68 (73%) going for strikes.   He unfortunately exited the game with the score tied at one.

Meanwhile, Maryland starter Craig Stem was in the midst of polishing his own gem, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and no walks with seven strikeouts during a complete game, albeit losing effort.

Crabs left fielder Tony Thomas singled home the game's first run in the second.  Daniel Field's third home run of the season tied the game at one in the seventh.  After which, a trio of former Mets joined forces to impact the game.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis led-off the top of the ninth with a double, then advanced to third on L.J. Mazzilli's sacrifice bunt.  Next in, Matt den Dekker's base hit through the left side plated Nieuwenhuis from third with the go ahead run.

Joe Iorio earned the win in relief of Downs, while George Kontos, making just his second appearance for Long Island, pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his first save as a member of the Ducks.

Entering Tuesday's action Kirk Nieuwenhuis was leading the circuit with 15 RBI, while his .983 OPS rated fourth, and .345 average through 15 games ranks seventh.

The Ducks improve to 12-5 (.706) and remain one-half game behind the first place Somerset Patriots whom likewise turned away the High Point Rockers in Tuesday night action.  Long Island now leads the circuit with twelve victories.  They've played three more games than Somerset.

Amazin' Date 5/15/1969: Hank Aaron's Two Home Runs Too Much For Mets

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Game #33: Thursday, May 15, 1969 - BR
Atlanta Braves @ New York Mets
Shea Stadium

Don Cardwell's struggles continue as the N.L. West leading Atlanta Braves take Thursday's rubber game at Shea Stadium. 

The Mets starter got roughed up for four runs (three earned) on six hits including a home run from Hank Aaron in just three innings pitched.  In fact, Hammerin' Hank hit two home runs in the game, his second coming in the seventh off Cal Koonce pitching in relief Jack DeLauro whom was called up from Tidewater.

Atlanta maintained a 6-2 lead through seven.  The Mets then rallied in the eighth with three runs on four hits and a wild pitch by reliever Cecil Upshaw.  With two on in the ninth, Jerry Grote successfully sacrifice-bunted both runners into scoring position.  Upshaw then issued Wayne Garrett an intentional walk to load the bases.  The strategy paid off as Ken Boswell bounced into a force play at home.  Cleon Jones then popped up to the infield ending the game.

Atlanta starter Pat Jarvis allowed four earned runs on six hits and four walks with three strikeouts through seven innings pitched for the victory.  Cecil Upshaw earned his ninth save of the season.  Don Cardwell had his record fall to 1-6 on the season.

  • Mets Record:  15-18
  • N.L. East:  3rd; 7.5 GB

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Amazin' Date 5/14/1969: Cleon's Grand Slam Lifts Mets Over Braves

From the desk of:  HEAD BUTTING MR. MET

Atlanta Braves @ New York Mets
Shea Stadium

Agee and Jones Win One For Seaver; Mets Knot Series

Wednesday evening's game two starters Tom Seaver and Phil Niekro dueled through five scoreless innings at Shea before Atlanta broke the deadlock with four hits and a pair of runs in the sixth.  The Braves extended their lead off Seaver in the seventh when Jesus Alou connected on his third home run of the season.  The Mets finally got on the board in the bottom half of the frame when Ken Boswell stroked a lead-off triple to the left/center gap then scored on a Cleon Jones bounce out short to first.

Niekro and the Braves would unravel in the eighth.  With the bases loaded, Tommie Agee doubled in a pair to knock Atlanta's knuckle-baller from the box.  Pitching in relief of Niekro, George Stone intentionally walked Ed Charles then hit Ken Boswell with a pitch to force another run.  With the bases reloaded, Cleon Jones connected on a bases clearing grand slam.  J.C. Martin would also triple and score giving the Mets an 9-3 lead and final margin of victory over National League West leading Atlanta.

The Mets salvage a victory for Tom Seaver, his fifth of the season against two losses.  He yielded three earned runs on ten hits and a walk with three strikeouts through eight innings.  Ron Taylor pitched a scoreless ninth.

Cleon Jones' five RBI in the game give him 23 for the season.  Tommie Agee was 1 for 3 with a double and two RBI, and is now 12 for 25 (.480) for the month of May with a double, five home runs, and ten RBI.

Thursday's rubber game will feature Don Cardwell pitching against the Braves Pat Jarvis.

  • Mets Record:  15-17
  • N.L. East:  3rd; 7 GB

L.I. Ducks: Ninth Inning Melt Down at Maryland Costs Flock Shot at First

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Bennett Parry's Gem Goes For Not

Long Island Ducks (0-1)
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (1-0)

Long Island Ducks: Bullpen Blows Game and Opportunity To Overtake Somerset Patriots.

There are two things Ducks fans have become accustomed with: a punch it out, drag em out, down to the wire division race against the Somerset Patriots, and MLB organizations regularly picking off Long Island Ducks pitchers at inconvenient times.  I know that's the way it's designed to work; Michael Pfaff does a good job securing personnel; and a world of luck to those whom move on; but it can be somewhat frustrating nonetheless.

Jon Niese wound up never throwing a pitch for the Ducks, when just days before opening day his contract was purchased by the Seattle Mariners.  After which Tim Melville had his contract purchased by the Colorado Rockies.  And now Tim Aldeman most recently had his contract purchased by the Detroit Tigers.

Although the standings reflect a tie in the Liberty Division standings, Somerset is only fractionally ahead of the Ducks:
  • 1)  Patriots   11-3 (.785)  *
  • 2)  Ducks      12-4 (.750)  *

After taking two of three at Sugar Land over the weekend, the Flock arrived at Southern Maryland on Monday to open a four game series against the Blue Crabs.  Ducks starter Bennett Parry pitched a gem, allowing no earned runs on just four hits and no walks with eight strikeouts through eight innings of work.

With a victory the Ducks could have assumed a half-game lead over Somerset, but wound up quite literally blowing their opportunity.  Charged with protecting a 2-1 lead in the ninth, the bullpen yielded two runs on three hits and a walk en route to Long Island's series opening loss to the Blue Crabs.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis was 2 for 4, and is now hitting .345 for the season.  Newcomer L.J. Mazzilli is also acclimating well to life as a Duck.  He went 3 for 4 with an RBI, and is batting .350 since joining the club.