Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Zack Wheeler Wins Debut; Mets Sweep Twin-Bill From Braves

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS - That's Two Small Steps For The Mets; One Giant Leap For Mets-Kind.

Making his twenty-fifth start of his major league career, Matt Harvey climbed the mound in Atlanta in the first game of a day/night double-header.  To the Braves, a first inning 100-mph fastball unleashed by Harvey was an omen.  Matt retired the first six batters he faced before issuing two walks in the third inning.  Over the fourth and fifth innings, Harvey again faced the minimum, while striking out five consecutive batters.  In the sixth, he fanned two more.  The Atlanta Braves finally managed their first hit off Matt Harvey in the seventh inning on a questionable scoring play at first base.  That matter was rendered mute in the eighth as Atlanta drew a lead-off walk off Harvey, then touched him for two clean singles.  With the bases loaded, Coach Collins called upon the bullpen for relief.  All three base runners eventually scored, and were charged to Matt Harvey.

The Mets were able to hold on however, and secure a 4-3 victory - Matt Harvey's sixth of the season against just one loss.  He pitched six hitless frames and seven shutout innings before being removed in the eighth.  Harvey was responsible for three earned runs on three hits.  He walked three batters and struck out eleven.  This game marked the fourth time in fifteen starts this season he achieved double-digit strikeouts.  His ERA rose slightly from 2.04, to a 2.14 mark.

In Game Two, Zack Wheeler finally made his much anticipated major league debut.  He lacked command of his breaking ball, and early on suffered through a poor economy of pitches, but otherwise battled through a very successful first appearance as a New York Met.  In six full innings pitched, he threw 102 pitches, fifty-five for strikes.  He allowed no runs on four hits, walked five and struck out seven.  Wheeler faced a no-decision up until Anthony Recker broke a scoreless deadlock in the top of the seventh by launching a two run bomb to straight away center field, giving Zack and the Mets a 2-0 lead.  In the eighth, the Mets strung together a couple of hits, while the Braves engaged in sloppy play that resulted in four more Mets runs.

The Mets swept the double-header, in what has historically been a difficult place for them to play.  They did it with Amazin' One and Amazin' Two - Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.  Today's sweep comes on the heels of an eight inning gem tossed by Dillon Gee the night before, but was  unfortunately lost in the ninth, 2-1, on a game winning two run homer struck by Freddie Freeman.  That's baseball, but after their two young hurlers dispatched the Braves today, the general  conversation now slowly turns from the futile Mets, to the emerging Mets.

A little more according to plan, the Mets now have clear signs their future is indeed emerging. Today's double-header featuring Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler was in a sense, a new start for the Mets season.  What began against the first place Braves must now evolve over the next three-plus months of the season.  Above all, the General Manager needs to proceed with decisiveness and a certain degree of boldness.  I can deal with transient half-truths and double-speak, but his active-roster decisions as it pertains to the outfield have proven feeble, and a waste of three months time.  I believe there has been no real strategy to shuttle players in and out of center and right field.  Instead, I feel the approach towards these two positions has been incoherent, if not questionable.  In the first three months, I would have auditioned six players by now, allowing them all one full month apiece.  Roughly twenty-five uninterrupted games, and eighty-five at-bats could have served several of their other minor league players well.  Barring a major trade, perhaps this sort of plan still has a chance over the final three months of the season.

Speaking of trades, the General Manager said we're now inside a six month window where he will actively persue such.  Show me.


Brooklyn Cyclones: Opening Day In Coney Island

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS

Staten Island Yankees
MCU Park at Steeplechase Grounds
Coney Island, Brooklyn

2013 Battle Of The Boroughs
Staten Island Leads Series 1-0
I - S.I. 2; BKN 1


BROOKLYN CYCLONES - Baseball By The Boardwalk Enters Its Thirteenth Season.  Summertime In The Borough Starts Now!

Coney Island Salt Water Taffy is da best - Oh!  But salt water on grass fields?  Fuhgeddaboudit!  And so, after the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Brooklyn Cyclones General Manager decided MCU would convert to a synthetic field.  The new surface will ease fears and limit potential future storm damage, while increasing the events MCU Park can host without fretting over the wear and tear of grass.

Battered, but not beaten, like much of the impacted coastal areas of Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens, New Yorkers are a resilient bunch.  With them, MCU Park is another treasured home in our neighborhood, and its players, neighbors on our block.  To the newest members of the Cyclones, I welcome you to Brooklyn - welcome home to Coney Island.

On their new turf, the new Kids of Summer will open their thirteenth season by the seashore this evening against their chief rival Staten Island Yankees.  Last night, the teams played in the Baby Bombers home opener before a capacity crowd, with the Yankees outlasting the Cyclones by a 2-1 final score.

Robert Gsellman made the start for Brooklyn, opposed by Staten Island's Giovanny Gallegos.  Gsellman pitched five innings, allowed two runs on five hits, but none earned.  He issued one walk and struck out four in suffering his first loss of the season.  At the plate, L.J. Mazzilli had two hits in his professional debut.  Right fielder James Roche drove in Brooklyn's only run with his first home run of the season.

As of post time, the skies above Southern Brooklyn were looking kind of ominous.  Hopefully there will be baseball in Coney Island tonight.


N.Y. Mets: Rising Apple Blog 2013


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My Recent Articles:
January 6, 2013 - Mets Money: New Year, New Financing - Same Problems
January 9, 2013 - Voters Close Hall Of Fame Doors On Mike Piazza; My Reaction
January 13, 2013 - Trade Bait: Trolling The Mets System For Prospects
January 16, 2013 - A Look Back At Carlos Delgado
January 17, 2013 - Sandy Alderson Places 50/50 Odds On Pulling Off A Big Deal
January 20, 2013 - Mets, Ike Davis Agree On 2013 Salary - And Other Amazin' Money Musings
January 21, 2013 - David Wright Headed To 2nd World Baseball Classic - Johan Santana Sill Ineligible
January 25, 2013 - Sandy Alderson And Paul DePodesta: Rebuilding From The Bottom, Up
January 27, 2013 - Sandy Alderson Giving Relief Pitcher Brian Wilson A Second Look
January 31, 2013 - Mets 40-Man Roster - Caribbean Winter Leagues Update

February 2, 2013 - Another Look At Frank Francisco And The 2012 Season
February 8, 2013 - Jon Niese; Ace Pitcher Wanted - Inquire Within
February 12, 2013 - How Much Power Can John Buck And Anthony Recker Provide Behind The Plate?
February 13, 2013 - Still Technically A Rookie, Josh Edgin Is Already Indispensable
February 19, 2013 - Was Sandy Alderson's Struggle To Save A Number One Draft Pick Worth It?
February 20, 2013 - Rising Apple Podcast; Episode Eight
February 22, 2013 - The New York Mets Are Building A New AGE In Flushing
February 25, 2013 - 10th Anniversary Season - David Wright And Angel Pagan Help Port St. Lucie Mets Win Florida State Title
February 27, 2013 - Rising Apple Podcast; Episode Nine

MARCH 2013
March 4, 2013 - New York Mets - Grapefruit League Week One Review
March 11, 2013 - 2013 Preview: A.L. East
March 12, 2013 - Lost In Vegas; The Mets Recent Struggles With AAA Affiliates
March 13, 2013 - Rising Apple Podcast; Episode Eleven - WBC
March 16, 2013 - Johan Santana, Sandy Alderson, And Jeremy Hefner: Out With The Old, In With The New
March 19, 2013 - 25-Man Roster Predictions
March 20, 2013 - Rising Apple Podcast; Episode Twelve - N.L. East
March 22, 2013 - N.Y. Mets Final Record Prediction
March 26, 2013 - 40th Anniversary of "You Gotta Believe!" - Season Preview; 1973 New York Mets
March 30, 2013 - College Baseball; The Kids Of Spring
March 31, 2013 - Paul DePodesta's Handling Of Zack Wheeler's Purpose Pitch Demonstrates A Break From The Past, And Is A Reminder As Well

APRIL 2013
April 1, 2013 - Opening Day Recap - Jon Niese Leads On The Mound And At The Plate As Mets Roll Over Padres
April 3, 2013 - 2013 Season Preview: Las Vegas 51's - Zach Wheeler Set To Open AAA Regular Season
April 4, 2013 - 2013 Season Preview: Binghamton Mets
April 5, 2013 - Las Vegas 51's Win Season Opener Over Sacramento River Cats
April 6, 2013 - Jeremy Hefner Starts Climb Up Mound Of Opportunity
April 7, 2013 - Ruben Tejada Begging For A Call Into Terry Collins' Office
April 8, 2013 - Las Vegas 51's Drop Sunday's Game 8-4 From Sacramento River Cats; Start Season 3-1
April 9, 2013 - Josh Satin leads Las Vegas Over Fresno Grizzlies; Zack Wheeler Goes Tonight
April 9, 2013 - Binghamton's Bats Quieted In 2-1 Loss To Erie SeaWolves; Rubber Game Wednesday
April 11, 2013 - Las Vegas Roundup - 51's Lose Rubber Game To Fresno; Sale Of Club Imminent; Opening Day At Cashman Field
April 11, 2013 - Binghamton Mets Drop Home Opener To New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 3-1
April 17, 2013 - Amazin' Look Back; April 17, 1973 - Fergie Jenkins Outduels Tom Seaver; Mets Fall To Cubs 1-0
April 17, 2013 - Savannah Sand Gnats Squash Greensboro Grasshoppers 9-1; Brandon Nimmo And Kevin Plawecki Off To Hot Starts
April 18, 2013 - Frank Francisco And Pedro Feliciano Pitch Well In Losing Effort - Port St. Lucie Mets Fall To Charolette
April 19, 2013 - Binghamton Mets Begin Road Trip With 4-3 Comeback Victory Over New Hampshire Fisher Cats
April 19, 2013 - 4/19 Game Recap: "Harvey's Better!" - Matt Harvey Outpitches Stephen Strasburg In Early Season Showdown; Mets Win 7-1 Over Nats
April 20, 2013 - Las Vegas 51's Updates: d'Arnaud Does Not Need Surgery; Zack Wheeler Struggles Again; 51's Defeat Sacramento
April 21, 2013 - Rafael Montero Continues Stellar Pitching Against New Hampshire; Binghamton Shuts Out Fisher Cats 3-0
April 22, 2013 - Port St. Lucie Mets: Hansel Robles Tosses Six Shutout Innings In 1-0 Win Over Charlotte Stone Crabs
April 23, 2013 - Collin McHugh Deserves First Chance Over Zack Wheeler If Mets Come Calling
April 24, 2013 - Amazin' Look Back: April 24, 1973 - Jon Matlack Loses Third Consecutive Start; Mets Bow To Houston 4-2
April 25, 2013 - On Zack Wheeler - Being In Las Vegas Tonight Would Have Been Fun
April 26, 2013 - Las Vegas 51's Lose 13-12 Debacle - Bullpen Blows Zack Wheeler's Opportunity For First Win Of Season
April 27, 2013 - 4/26 Game Recap: Philadelphia's Kyle Kendrick Tosses Three Hit, Complete Game Shoutout Over Mets
April 27, 2013 - 4/26 Binghamton Recap: Mets Shutout 4-0, By Akron Aeros - Plus Commentary On The Growing Predilection To Promote Zack Wheeler And Rafael Montero
April 27, 2013 - Savannah Sand Gnats Roundup - Plus, The 2012 Brooklyn Cyclones' Sensational Six; How Are They Doing Now
April 28, 2013 - Binghamton Mets Hurler Logan Verrett Putting Himself On The Radar
April 28, 2013 - 4/28 Game Recap: Game Turns In Seventh Inning, But Not Before Jon Niese And Cole Hamels Duel Through Six - Mets Fall 5-1; Phillies Sweep Series
April 30, 2013 - Zack Wheeler Pitches Impressively To Earn First Victory Of Season - Las Vegas 51's Bury Reno Aces, 10-2

MAY 2013
May 1, 2013 - Amazin' Look Back: April 1973 - Jerry Koosman Named N.L. Pitcher Of The Month; Cleon Jones' Injury Under Scrutiny; Time For Yogi To Show Jim Fregosi The Bench
May 3, 2013 - 5/3 Game Recap: Terry Collins, Four Home Runs, Solid Defense, And A Comeback Spirit, All Help Chop Down Atlanta Braves, 7-5 In 10 Innings
May 5, 2013 - The Battery Of Catcher Kevin Plawecki And Pitcher Rainy Lara Continue To Power The First Place Savannah Sand Gnats
May 5, 2013 - Zack Wheeler Finding His Groove; Wins Second Straight - Las Vegas 51's Down Sacramento River Cats, 6-2
May 6, 2013 - Frank Francisco Makes Return To Mound As PSL Mets Shut Out Daytona Cubs, 1-0
May 7, 2013 - What Are Sandy Alderson's Remaining Organizational Options For Improving The Bullpen?
May 9, 2013 - Noah Syndergaard Dominates As Mets Thump Palm Beach Cardinals
May 10, 2013 - Harrisburg Senators Toss Combined No Hitter Over Binghamton; Mets Lose 6-1 - Spoil Feat With Unearned Run
May 10, 2013 - 5/10 Game Recap: Shaun Marcum Too Inconsistent; Doesn't Last Five- Mets Bow To Pirates 7-3
May 11, 2013 - Minor League Round Up: Friday Recaps For Savannah, Port St. Lucie and Binghamton
May 12, 2013 - Zack Wheeler Turning His Fortunes Around In Vegas
May 15, 2013 - Amazin'Look Back: May 15, 1973 - Cubs Outlast Mets 4-3 At Wrigley
May 17, 2013 - Rainy Lara Continues Mastery Over South Atlantic League - Savannah Sand Gnats Blank Augusta GreenJackets In Eleven 6-0
May 17, 2013 - 5/17 Game Recap: Matt Harvey Earns Fifth Victory And Delivers Game Winning RBI As Mets Edge Cubs 3-2
May 20, 2013 - Previewing The Mets 2013 June Amateur Draft
May 22, 2013 - Amazin' Look Back: May 22, 2013 - Cardinals' Rick Wise Pitches and Bats Way To 5-3 Victory Over Mets, Jerry Koosman Drops Second Straight
May 22, 2013 - Zack Wheeler Returns From Sore Shoulder To Gain Third Victory Of Season - Las Vegas Thumps Iowa Cubs, 9-4
May 25, 2013 - Jeurys Familia and Scott Atchison Preserve Angel Cuan's Gem - PSL Mets Outlast Bradenton, 1-0
May 26, 2013 - Logan Verrett And Binghamton Mets Topple First Place Sea Dogs in Tenth, 3-2
May 26, 2013 - Getting Zack Wheeler In A New York State Of Mind
May 29, 2013 - Amazin' Look Back: May 29, 1973 - In The Land Of Giants, Tom Seaver Was A Titan; Fans Sixteen In 5-2 Win
May 29, 2013 - 5/29 Game Recap: Mets Hand Yanks 9-4 Thumping In The Bronx
May 31, 2013 - 5/31 Game Recap: Mets Suffer letdown Against Fish - Marcum's Six Inning Gem Goes Awry In Seventh

JUNE 2013
June 2, 2013 - Rafael Montero And Binghamton White Wash New Hampshire 6-0 - Gain Sole Possession Of First Place
June 2, 2013 - Zack Wheeler: Hurry Up And Wait
June 2, 2013 - Binghamton Mets Taking Two Game lead Into Showdown Against Trenton Thunder
June 4, 2013 - Carlos Torres Hurls Three Hit Complete Game Shutout - Las Vegas Downs Fresno Grizzlies, 8-0
June 5, 2013 - Amazin' Look Back: June 5, 1973 - Johnny Bench Powers Big Red Machine In Ten Inning 6-5 Victory Over Mets
June 5, 2013 - Rainy Lara Making Strong Case For promotion To Binghamton
June 6, 2013 - Amazin' Look Back: 1973 Amateur Draft - Mets Select OF-Lee Mazzilli With Fourteenth Overall Pick
June 6, 2013 - Cory Mazzoni and Cesar Puello Rumble Over trenton Thunder; Binghamton Takes Rubber Game, 5-4
June 7, 2013 - 6/7 Game Recap: Special Rain Out Retro Edition
June 8, 2013 - Tacoma Rainiers Give Zack Wheeler A Rude Send Off
June 9, 2013 - Carlos Torres Tosses Complete Game Two Hitter; Las Vegas To Welcome Latest Arrivals
June 10, 2013 - Should The Mets Trade Daniel Murphy?
June 11, 2013 - Noah Syndergaard Fends Off Threshers; PSL Mets Best Clearwater 9-4
June 12, 2013 - Savannah Sand Gnats Outlast Ashville Tourists; Win Eleven Inning Pitcher's Duel
June 12, 2013 - Las Vegas Wins Thriller Despite Four Horsemen Of The METropolis
June 12, 2013 - Amazin' Look Back; June 12, 1973 - Ed Kranepool's HR Helps Mets Slip By Giants, 5-4
June 12, 2013 - Ya Gotta Believe 40th Anniversary Player Profile: George Stone
June 17, 2013 - Savannah Sand Gnats At The Break
June 17, 2013 - Setting Zack Wheeler And The Mets Rebuilding Process In Motion

Thanks for reading! Be sure to Like Rising Apple’s Facebook page and follow @RisingAppleBlog on Twitter to keep up with the latest news, rumors, and opinion.




Zack Wheeler Makes MLB Debut Today

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS - The Newest Hero Off The Mets Assembly System Is Ready For His Debut.

In a Mets fantasy, I like to think that perhaps by design and taking into consideration what has made this organization successful in the past, that we are getting back to our roots by grooming a steady supply of pitchers.  I'd like to think there is a renaissance under way, with quality pitching being groomed in Savannah, Port. St. Lucie, and Binghamton.

What started circa 1967 - a concerted effort to develop pitching under then Mets director of player development, Joe McDonald, with Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Gary Gentry, and Tug McGraw, etc., continued even through the lean (1977-1983) years.  For a long stretch, there were no dynamic duo or trio.  But there did come along starting pitchers like Craig Swan, Mike Scott and Ed Lynch who earned our respect.  Joe McDonald stayed on for one more season after Doubleday and Wilpon assumed ownership of the team.  Before departing, McDonald groomed one last cache of relief pitchers, among them, Neil Allen, Jesse Orosco, and Jeff Reardon.

In the ensuing era, the days of Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Bobby Ojeda and Sid Fernandez barrelled into town like four bulls through a china shop.  While Darling and Sid were acquired as minor leaguers in trades, Doc, Roger McDowell, Jesse, Rick Aguilera, etc...., were home grown pitchers.  As much championship success and trophies the former wealth of home grown pitchers once afforded the Mets, twice, the failure of Generation-K in the 1990's should stand as a stark reminder as to how wrong things can go even with the best laid rebuilding plans.  I find no fault with former GM Joe McIlvaine, his failed rebuilding effort, or with Generation-K.  That plan just flat out fell apart, but at the same time, the minor league affiliates were still fully functional and producing quality players.  Under Steve Phillips, the Mets utilized some farm talent and remnants of the McIlvaine era, and parlayed them into a 2000 National League pennant.  The former GM did it with carpetbaggers on the mound, and almost pulled it off.  But there in lies the rub.  Under former General Manager Steve Phillips, the Mets minor league mass production line came to a grinding halt.  David Wright, Jose Reyes, and on the hill, Scott Kazmir were the last products to roll off the assembly line after thirty plus years of output.

For those who never experienced the thrill, I enjoyed watching Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman in the midst of their forming a dynamic duo. In fact, along with Jon Matlack, I'm appreciative of the fact I witnessed the three form a tremendous trio through the 1976 season.

For the 2000 season, the Mets imported a semi-dynamic duo in the form of Al Leiter and Mike Hampton, that almost got them through another championship run.  An examination of the 2006 starting rotation however, would grow upon this article like a weed, so I'll pass, and not digress.  But if I include David Cone and Frank Viola here, with the carpetbaggers, a disconnect becomes evident, if not more than a coincidence.  If you look at the championship seasons of 1969 (1973) and 1986 (1988), the starting rotations and bullpens were primarily built from within - 2000 and 2006, not so much.

Today's double-header featuring Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler is a very special event.  In a rare stroke of scheduling luck, the two will join forces on Tuesday, and attempt to defeat the first place Atlanta Braves.  What Mets fans fantasize most, is the pair launching to become the next dynamic duo, and re-establishing the Mets legacy as a pitching power.  For those of you belonging to a younger generation, I want you to pay very close attention to tomorrows double-header in Atlanta.

But contain yourselves, or you'll miss it.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees Reconvene Battle of the Boroughs

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS

BROOKLYN CYCLONES: Over The Verrazano And Into The 2013 New York Penn League Regular Season Opener.

The Baby Bums are back!  For "us", them, and the Staten Island Yankees, the 2013 New York Penn League regular season starts today in Richmond County Ballpark.

Staten Island Yankees Preliminary Roster

The 2013 Battle Of The Boroughs Is On!


Staten Island Yankees
Richmond County


Rich Donnelly enters his third consecutive season as skipper of the Cyclones.  Last year, he led the Coney Island Nine to a 45-31 record.  His starting rotation posted a New York Penn League's best 2.62 ERA.  But for all their success in 2012, the Cyclones fell to the Hudson Valley Renegades in the first round of last year's playoffs.  Cyclones alumni Bobby Malek returns as batting coach, and this season, Marc Valdez will take his first turn as pitching coach.

Highlighting the start to the Cyclones season will be the return of shortstop Gavin Cecchini for a first full season in Brooklyn, after spending most of 2012 with Kingsport, and the professional debut of LJ Mazzilli, son of the ever popular former Mets outfielder, Lee Mazzilli.  If you recall, Cecchini, 19, was the Mets 2012 first round, twelfth overall selection in last year's draft.  He played fifty-three games for Kingsport last season, and five for Brooklyn.  In the off-season, he donated $10,000 to the local Hurricane Sandy relief effort.  LJ Mazzilli was selected in the fourth round of the recently concluded draft.  After previously being drafted by the Minnesota Twins, he instead opted to attend his senior year of college as second baseman for the University of Connecticut.


Monday, June 10, 2013

N.Y.Mets: Tremors Starting To Intensify in Flushing

From the desk pf:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS - Ike Davis, Mike Baxter And Robert Carson Demoted To Las Vegas.

That's more like it - action, because June demanded it.  Like I said yesterday, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  But with respect to the last three days of roster adjustments, manipulating the farm system is all the GM really has.  Major trades and signing big free agents have been out of the question.  In the general manager's defense, blame for lack-luster execution of the grand plan gets easily confused between all that can be done in light of an ongoing prohibitive ownership situation, and the GM doing everything he personally can to build a better team.  All that said, finally, the GM acted with haste and conviction.

I would have treated the Ike Davis dilemma differently, by summoning Josh Satin to Flushing a month ago to platoon with Ike at first.  That would have effectively brought the pressure of competition home to Ike, rather than shipping the crowd favorite to Vegas.  Although no one ever accused him of being the answer at first base, Josh Satin, who is no stranger to Flushing and has been putting together a fine campaign for the 51's, gets a deserved opportunity now.  After fifty-eight games and 216 at-bats, Josh was batting .306, slugging .491, with a stellar .491 OBP.  He had thirteen doubles, nine home runs, and thirty-two runs batted in.  Defensively, he only committed one error as a first baseman in 421 chances, for a .998 pct.

Ike Davis however, fizzled like a bottle rocket shortly after displaying a spark of progress during the subway series, and during last week's series against the Marlins.  By the end of Sunday's game, Ike was batting just .161 after 186 at-bats, with sixty-six strikeouts.  With just three doubles and five home runs, Ike was slugging at a paltry .262 mark.  At times, his fielding and decision making were clearly affected as well.  Working in Ike's favor, are his good standing with the fans, and the club's confidence in him.  However, Davis has done everything possible to get himself included in a trade next month.  How long he spends playing for Las Vegas or Flushing is clearly up to him.

Accompanying Ike in Vegas will be Mike Baxter and Robert Carson.  Josh Edgin and Collin Cowgill appear to be their replacements.  This comes on the heels of Rick Ankiel getting DFA'd and Collin McHugh getting sent back down to Vegas on Saturday.  Taking McHugh's spot on the active roster is David Aardsma.

Accusing Sandy Alderson of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic S.S. Wilpon is the easy thing to do.  It might even be warranted if he doesn't start promoting from a wider pool of Mets prospects.  Collin Cowill and Kirk Nieuwenhuis were already given a change to open the season together, and wound up in Vegas together.  They return to Flushing as a pair again, to compete with Juan Lagares, which is fine, and Marlon Byrd, which is not.  I still contend Marlon Byrd's roster spot should be going to someone else who projects more prominently into the Mets near future.


Sunday, June 09, 2013

Newark Bears Complete Sweep Of Rockland Boulders

From the desk of:   THE BROAD STREET NINE

NEWARK BEARS - Not In This Den!  Templeton's Club Sweeps The Formerly First Place Rockland Boulders.

After pitching a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Newark starter Leondy Perez, reliever Ryan Carr returned to the hill for the eighth, still trying to hold down a 5-2 Bears lead against Rockland.  Instead, he encountered immediate trouble.  Carr surrendered a lead-off single, a pair of walks, and unleashed a series of wild pitches to plate a run.  That caused manager Garry Templeton to bring in senior Bear Kyle Morrison.

In six previous appearances this season, Kyle hadn't allowed a run in nine innings pitched, while striking out sixteen batters along the way.  On Sunday, if he didn't enjoy he best day of the season, it certainly was the most imperative for Newark.  Morrison walked the first batter he faced to load the bases with Boulders, then composed himself, and struck out the side, essentially saving a 5-3 victory.  However, Jorge Vasquez recieved official credit for the save with his scoreless work in the ninth.  I guess that relegates Kyle Morrision to game hero then.

The victory improved the Bears record to 10-9, as they completed their first ever sweep of the first place Rockland Boulders.  The win also extends Newarks current win streak to four, and puts them 3.5 games back of first place.

Center fielder Steve Malcom drove in his first run, in just his second game as a member of the Bears.  He was 4 for 7 at the plate in the series.  Bridger Hunt also drove in one run.  First baseman Ernie Banks Jr. led the way, going 2 for 4, with two runs batted in.  Starter Leondy Perez pitched six innings, allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits.  He walked two batters and struck out seven, in earning his third win in four appearances.

After a well deserved day off tomorrow, the Bears will roam into their neighbor's back yard on Tuesday and take on the New Jersey Jackals.


N.Y. Mets: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS - The S.S. Wilpon Is Still Bobbing Atop A Glass Top Surface In Flushing Bay.

Have the last twenty innings of baseball caused irreparable damage to your senses as they did mine?  My nostrils are singed - my eyes irritated and red.

Like the stench of dead rotting FISH under a blazing summer sun, so too does the Mets line-up wreak - of offensively magnificent futility.  Thirteen hits off eight different pitchers, while just five hits came off Miami's regulation time front five, rank foul like melting fish heads and seagull pickings left behind on a dock.  That's six hits per nine innings played-plus, or try, thirteen hits is the equivalent of 2.2 games played.  Runs scored, or lack there of, also cross my eyes with shock.  The Mets scored just one run over the same stretch of innings.  They were 0-19 with runners in scoring position.  That averages to just under one failure per inning.  In all, the Mets left a total of twenty-two runners on base.  All this against the Miami Marlins, statistically, the worst team in baseball.

When overwhelmed with such odoriferous circumstances, one instantly ponders what got them into such a situation, and what's the quickest escape.  To both queries, the Wilpons got us into this mess, and as die-hard fans, there's no way out.  There is no removing the pungent smell of decay in a floundering local fish market, when the owners of the market itself are the embedded root offenders.  The condition is, under the Wilpon's, the Mets stink, and as such, a fish rots from the head, down.  In the mean time, we continue getting served the three-eyed, LaGuardia raised jet fuel dumped AAAA-grade catch of the day oozing in the muck off Flushing Bay.  And while making no disparaging remarks about their final market product, the species used by McDonald's for their fish fillets are one of the ugliest on the planet.  And well...the Mets season is right there with them.  My mom would always make my son eat a fish-o-fillet if he wanted McDonalds.  Mr. Wilpon feeds us this.

Almost a third of the way into June, I just can't help but feel, time continues to be of the essence.  I am still not detecting the sense of urgency I feel Sandy Alderson should be operating with.  At least Sandy Alderson gained some clarity, finally tossing Rick Ankiel back in the water.  Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis was recalled from Las Vegas to take his place on the active roster - finally, if anything, some one else.  Perhaps now Marlon Byrd, who in no way projects into the Mets future plans, can be thrown overboard as well.  The Mets paid fisherman still has many more decisions to make regarding where to cast his current and future net.  Just as the season is long, unfortunately, bobbing and trolling on a glass-top ocean is tedious. Twenty innings is a long time to think, or hold a rod.  As reeling Rick Ankiel aboard a dead man's boat was so incredibly inconsequential to begin with, I was left to think when will Sandy Alderson consider casting the really beg net?  Such as life aboard the S.S. Wilpon.  Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.


Newark Bears Sweep Saturday Double Header From Rockland

From the desk of:   THE BRICK CITY NINE

NEWARK BEARS - Hear The Urban Grizzly Roar!

The urban grizzlies are alive and well.  Newark swept a double-header Saturday at the Den from the first place Rockland Boulders, and are now winners of three in a row.  Saturday's victories also got the Bears to the .500 mark as well, with a 9-9 record.  They leapfrogged the New Jersey Jackals (9-12) into third place, and presently trail the Boulders (13-8) by a mere three games.

Jim Schult and Jorge Vasquez out-pitched Bobby Blevins and the Boulders in Game One to gain a 5-3 victory.  Ryan Fennell took the mound in Game Two, and pitched 4.1 innings (seven inning for  double headers) for the win.  He allowed four runs on eight hits, but only two earned.  He walked one and struck out six to gain his first victory of the season.  Bridger Hunt and Jamar Walton drove in all six runs for the Bears with three RBI apiece.  Rockland scored one time in the top of the seventh, reliever but Jorge Vasquez was able to close of the Boulders to preserve a 6-5 final, and gain his third save of the season.

The end of a career appears at hand.  On June 7th, the Newark Bears released thirty-five year old D'Angelo Jimenez.  After fourteen games and fifty-seven trips to the plate, Jimenez was batting .281 while sporting a quality .349 OBP.  He hit six doubles, one home run and had ten runs batted in.

D'Angelo was an eight year major league veteran, playing for seven different clubs, while his last at bat at the big league level came during the 2007 season.  Last year, Jimenez split playing time between Newark, the independent American Association, and played in Mexico as part of a long seventeen year minor league career.


Thursday, June 06, 2013

Newark Bears Claw Back For Series Split Versus Trois-Riviere Aigles

From the desk of:   THE BROAD STREET NINE


The Newark Nine Gain A Four Game Split In Their First Ever Series Against The Trois-Riviere Aigles.

Late this morning through early afternoon, the Newark Bears completed their first ever series against the CanAm expansion Trois-Rivieres Aigles.  Their initial series scheduled in May was wiped out due to inclement weather.

On Monday, Jim Schult started the first ever contest between these teams, and was also making his first start for the Bears since coming over from Rockland.  He pitched five innings, allowed two earned runs on five hits, walked two and struck out five before departing the game with the score tied at two.  Ryan Carr entered the game in the sixth, but two Newark errors opened the door for five unearned runs, as Carr invariably suffered the loss.  At the plate, Bridger Hunt and Carlos Guzman combined on 4 for 8, with an RBI each.

Tuesday in game two, the Bears exploded for sixteen runs to knot the series at a game apiece. DAngelo Jimenez was big man on campus with a 3 for 5 game, a grand slam, and five total RBI. Jamar Walton was also 3 for 5, with a home run and four RBI.  Kyle Lafrenz was additionally 3 for 4, with Newark's third home run of the game.  And Bridger Hunt was 4 for 5 at the plate, with a pair of runs batted in.  Leondy Perez made the start for Newark, and pitched seven innings for his second win of the season.  Following a similar scenario as game one, Leondy was charged with four unearned runs.  Otherwise, he allowed five hits, walked two, and struck out eight batters.  His ERA is now 4.77 after three appearances.

The Aigles white washed the Bears in game three Wednesday by a 5-0 score.  Bryan Banes suffered his second loss of the season.  In six innings, he allowed three earned runs on five hits.  He walked three and struck out six before being relieved.  The Bears only mustered five hits all game.

With a 9-1 win today, the Bears gained a 2-2 split of their four game series.  Brian Parker took the mound and earned his first victory of the season.  He pitched 6.2 innings, allowed just one earned run on four hits, walked two batters and struck out four.  Carlos Guzman and Jamar Walton led the offensive charge with three RBI each.  First baseman Ernie Banks Jr. returned to the line-up and added a pair or runs batted in.

Coach Garry Templeton's Bears are still representing themselves with a 7-9 record.  They trail the first place Rockland Boulders by five games.  Bridger Hunt is leading the CanAm League with a .492 batting average.  Carlos Guzman ranks fifth with a .359 average.  On the mound, Brian Banes is fifth in league ERA with a 3.38 mark.

The Bears and Rockland Boulders will rejoin their rivalry with a three game weekend series at the Broad Street Den commencing Friday evening.  The Boulders' Chris Edmondson ranks second in the league with six home runs, while leading the circuit with twenty-three runs batted in.  On the hill, starters Bobby Blevins and Nick Serino are tied for the league lead in wins with three, while Pat Moran leads the circuit in strikeouts with twenty-one.  Rockland leads the CanAm League with a 13-5 record.  The defending champions, Quebec Capitales are just a game back in second place.


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

N.Y. Mets: Getting Swept By Fish Should Be A Wake-Up Call

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


NEW YORK METS - Someone Tell The GM To Stop Treating Citi Field Like It's Some Kind Of Reliquary, And Get Back To Rebuilding A Baseball Team.

With a third of the regular season complete, the Mets are ten games under .500, with a 22-32 record - no surprise there.  But getting swept in Miami by the Fish should have served as a wake-up call that all is not right in Flushing - obviously.  I would feel a lot better about the general situation if only Sandy Alderson were conducting the season with greater emphasis on internal competition.  My idea this season was to empty out the toy box, see which prospects were most serviceable, which were broken, and which to donate away - not pick through some other club's garbage, and display a few pieces of junk at Citi Field like it's some kind of reliquary.

Among Team Sandy are very learned people, but sometimes I'm not sure they (all of them) get it.  Time is of the essence.  The Mets hierarchy have been afforded plenty of time and patience on our part, and are still partaking in the last few months of their grace period.  Even though 2014 is the target date for major changes with regards to baseball operations, the time to act with a strong sense of urgency towards that end is now - as should have been all season.  The trade deadline looms ahead, and there still exists too many uncertainties.  Think of it this way, the Mets are nine months away from Spring Training 2014.  This much IS certain - if the Mets entire business model does not change by next season, as promised, there will be a hellish fan backlash, unlike the Wilpons have never suffered through before.  So time is indeed of the essence.

Marlon Byrd, Rick Ankiel, LaTroy Hawkins, and Shaun Marcum should be deleted from this team post-haste.  Then, so as to prevent a bottleneck at the door, hold off on evicting Scott Rice and Scott Atchison until the exit clears.  That gives me six roster spots that I'll address shortly.

First, my plan involves collateral damage - sorry.  But I ask, what is Mike Baxter's MLB value to the Mets?  At Baxter's expense, I would promote Josh Satin to form a (less than full) platoon with Ike Davis at first base.  Satin is twenty-eight years old, hitting .312 and slugging an even .500 at Las Vegas.  Bring him up, showcase him, and attempt to trade him while his particular iron is hot.  In the mean time, if Ike Davis begins another dominant second half, so be it.  But instead of the old tired talk of sending Ike Davis down to Vegas, bring Satin to the Citi, and provide competition for Ike here.  If Josh Satin or Ike Davis, or both are not traded, it's back to Vegas for Satin....or not.  That all depends on Ike.

Truth is, the Mets couldn't promote Wilmer Flores to Flushing even if they wanted to.  They have nowhere to play him.  Or do they?  I would include Flores in any potential major trade.  However, with Ruben Tejada hurt, not to mention suffering through a horrendous season otherwise, this might be Flores' big chance to revert back to his original position of shortstop.  In Monday night's AAA game between Las Vegas and Fresno, Brandon Hicks played short, while Flores played second base.  On a side note, twenty-one year old 2B/SS Wilfredo Tovar is having his problems in Binghamton this season.  Depending how Ruben Tejada progresses this season, the Mets should open a window for Wilmer Flores at shortstop by July or August.

Acquiring Rick Ankiel and Marlon Byrd to play outfield were perhaps the most counter-productive decisions of the season.  Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Collin Cowgill, Andrew Brown, and Jamie Hoffmann, are the AAA outfielders who perhaps should be getting the lion's share of two available positions.  While in Binghamton, Cory Vaughn and Cesar Puello are blazing their own paths towards Flushing.  Of course, the idea is to secure a legitimate slugger either at the trade deadline or during the off-season.  In the mean time, Ankiel and Byrd, who lack any worth to the Mets, are wasting valuable playing time that needs to be invested elsewhere...now.

That leaves me with four roster spots left.  Shaun Marcum's slot goes to Zack Wheeler.  The last three go to the bullpen.  I know LaTroy Hawkins is a somewhat serviceable reliever for us, but he too is wasting our time.  Along with Rice and Atchison, I'd kindly ask them to find employment elsewhere as none of them project into the Mets future.  In back-filling, I wouldn't dig too heavily into Binghamton's bullpen yet, but would consider promoting Mark Cohoon to share duties with Collin McHugh as the fifth starters, as well as making them work out of the bullpen together.  I would also commence a revolving door, starting with reliever Adam Kolarek, then transition to John Church.  This leaves top relievers Jack Leathersich, Jeff Walters and Chase Huchingson behind and untouched in Binghamton to continue their stellar campaigns and battling for first place.  While I also still have hopes for Josh EdginJeurys Familia gets his spot back when he returns.

NOTE:  The St. Louis Cardinals employ a system where by they place their best pitching prospects into the bullpen and let them learn on the major league level.  The best pitchers graduate into the starting rotation.  Just saying.

Starting now, and increasingly so by mid-summer, I'd like to see the overall effort around here focused our own first.  A somewhat reconfigured 25-man roster could resemble this:

C - Travis d'Arnaud - John Buck
1B - Ike Davis - Josh Satin
2B - Daniel Murphy
SS - Ruben Tejada - Wilmer Flores
3B - David Wright
OF - Lucas Duda - Juan Lagares - Kirk Nieuwenhuis
OF - Collin Cowgill - Cory Vaughn/Cesar Puello

SP - Matt Harvey - Zack Wheeler - Jonathon Niese - Dillon Gee - Rafael Montero/Jeremy Hefner
RP - Bobby Parnell - Robert Carson - Brandon Lyon - Jeurys Familia
RP - Mark Cohoon/Collin McHugh - Adam Kolarek/John Church

25th man - Justin Turner, Greg Burke, other

This is by no means a solution.  It is part of a process.  The team clearly needs more enhancements that will come via trades and maybe even free agency.  But looking at such players now, will give us better clarity into the 2014 season - better than we've been achieving so far.


Monday, June 03, 2013

N.Y. Mets: Ike Davis Still Battling The Man In The Mirror

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS - Even If Ike Davis Turns His Season Around, And Replicates Last Year's Second Half Surge, We'll Still Know Little To Nothing About Ike Davis Heading Into Next April.

Because the Mets have options at first base, meaning Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy, Ike's existence becomes more precarious the closer we get to the trade deadline, and for as long as he continues to struggle.  It's hard to say what the Mets would or would not do as it pertains to trading Ike, but it seems certain he will not be spending any length of time in the Mets minor leagues ever again.  In that sense, I agree with Davis when he says he needs to improve and excel at this level, not AAA.  After all, he's twenty-six years old, so keep take the kids gloves off, shall we?

Last year on June 2nd, Ike Davis was sporting a .170 batting average with five home runs.  This season as of June 2nd, Ike Davis was sporting a .168 batting average with five home runs.  On June 27, 2012, Ike Davis finally broke the Mendoza Line for the first time of the season.  Ike did so going 3 for 5 at the plate, with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored, and four RBI.  On Sunday, Ike was 2 for 4 at the plate, with a home run, and three RBI, but will we have to wait till June 27th until Ike cracks the Mendoza Line again this season?  A consistently sub-.200 batting average is something that should be taken into account when evaluating Ike going forward.  Ike never hit higher than .227 at any point last season.

Obviously, there are still a few things to be determined this year.  Even if Ike has a similar second half to last season's, we'll still head into the off-season with more questions than answers.  The Mets will still not be able to decipher which Ike Davis is the real Ike Davis unless he produces over the length of a full season.  That already puts us into 2014, and sort of throws this year in the hamper, doesn't it?

But you know what I say - once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a trend.  So based on odd coincidences, it is safe to call Ike Davis a creature of habit, albeit not for the most positive of reasons.  Last year, Ike Davis didn't hit his sixth home run of the season until June 12th.  I guess we'll revisit this conversation in ten more days.