Major League Baseball Notes

JONES
JONES

Chipper beats Mets again

SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

By JOE D'AMODIO

THE WEB SCRIBE

The $64,000 question is why do the New York Mets continue to pitch to Chipper Jones when the game is on the line?

The Atlanta Braves slugger made the Amazins pay for the umpteenth time in his career as his single in the home eighth broke open a scoreless game at Turner Field in Atlanta and helped the Braves defeat the Mets 1-0.

Up until that point, Met hurler R.A. Dickey, a knuckleball specialist, was cruising along and was looking to improve his record to 9-12. Instead, he left the ballpark with an 8-13 mark, which really should be more like 13-8 considering his 3.35 season ERA.

Prior to giving up the game-winning hit to the noted Met killer, New York pitching coach Dan Warthen had paid Dickey a visit to talk strategy. But with runners at first and third and two outs, Dickey and Co. decided to pitch to Jones.

Why? I don't know.

Jones faced five pitches, all knuckeballs, before he singled over second base. In 810 career at-bats against the Mets, he has a .317 average, 48 homers and 153 RBI.

And he'll keep adding to those totals as long as Met pitchers keep throwing to him in big spots.

Let's hope the Met hurlers learned their lesson this time around.

But that may be asking too much.



Met manager Terry Collins can't bear to watch his team lose another game in September.
Met manager Terry Collins can't bear to watch his team lose another game in September.

Same old September Mets

September 16, 2011

By JOE D'AMODIO

THE WEB SCRIBE


Well, another September is upon the New York Mets, which means it's time to start losing lots of games.

Heading into tonight's road game in Atlanta, the Mets are 6-10 in September, and that after starting the month by winning five of their first seven games. That leaves the Mets with 71-79 mark, and all hopes of a .500 season -- which would have been a huge accomplishment for this depleted squad managed by Terry Collins -- are all but gone. To boot, they finished a horrendous 1-8 on the home stand to fall to a dismal 31-44 at Citi Field (a blog for another time).

September collapses aren't new to the Amazins. A quick look back at their record in September the past 10 seasons reveals that the Mets are more than 100 games under .500 during that time. That, of course, includes the colossal nosedive the Mets took in 2007, when they blew a 7-and-a-half game lead with 15 games left in the season.

Sure, Met fans -- this author included -- point to the fact that the rosters are expanded in September and you can't on call-ups to win games.

But every team expands their roster and plays with minor leaguers just like the Mets. Case in point: The Mets were just swept in a four-game series by the weak Washington Nationals.

That shouldn't happen with any Major League team. Some of my Babe Ruth League teams I played on could beat the Nationals at least once in four games.

Of course, the Mets have no answers for their dismal showing in Septembers' past. No one seems to know why they run out of gas after 130 games.

Maybe, they need start looking at their spring-training regime and eliminate something that seems to be tiring out the players as the season progresses, or maybe they should add an exercise that builds more stamina.

Otherwise, I'll be writing the same blog at this time next season.


Big pickup for Mets

January 18, 2011

By JOE D'AMODIO

THE WEB SCRIBE

Why Willie Harris would want to sign with the Mets is a mystery to me.

A career .239 hitter in 10 major league seasons, Harris had been a Met killer, batting over .350 when he played against the Amazins. The outfielder/second baseman also had some of his finest defensive games against the Mets.

Now, Harris has been invited to New York's spring training and will most likely make the club as backup player and pinch-hitter, which means he will no longer feast on Met pitching and pad his career stats.

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So how many days is it until pitchers and catchers report? Looking at the snow falling outside my window, it can't come soon enough.

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Speaking of pitchers, the New York Yankees are still waiting to hear from Andy Pettitte and whether or not he's going to return this season or retire.

The feeling here is that gritty southpaw will be back and pitching his heart out in big playoff games come October.

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Still waiting for Met hurlers Paul Wilson, Bill Pulsipher and Jason Isringhausen, known as Generation K, to come into their own.

Oh, wait a second. That was 20 years ago. Sorry.

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It will be a make-it-or-break-it-year for Washington Nationals hurler Jason Marquis, whom I covered at Tottenville High School in Staten Island, N.Y. The righty is coming off arm surgery and will need a fine season to make good on the contract he signed prior to the 2010 season with the Nats.

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My 2011 World Series prediction: Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds in six games.



Mets need to do something fast

December 14, 2010

By JOE D'AMODIO

WEB SCRIBE

Here is the Philadelphia Phillies' five-man starting pitching rotation for next season: 1) Roy Halladay, 2) Cliff Lee, 3) Cole Hamels, 4) Roy Oswalt and 5) Joe Blanton (for now).

Here is the Mets starting rotation, keeping in mind that ace Johan Santana will start the season on the disabled list and isn't expected to return until sometime in July: 1) Mike Pelfrey, 2) Jonathon Niese, 3) R.A. Dickey, 4) Dillon Gee and 5) Pat Misch.

Is anyone getting the picture here? The Mets and all of Major League Baseball don't have a chance in hell to beat the Phils.

Just give 'em the World Series banner now!

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Cliff Lee headed to Phillies

December 14, 2010

By JOE D'AMODIO

WEB SCRIBE

Word on the East Coast is that highly sought free-agent pitcher Cliff Lee is headed to the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies apparently stepped into the negotations at the last moment by contacting Lee while he was hunting and supposedly deciding to choose between the Yankees and Rangers.

No wonder, the Yanks and Rangers still hadn't heard from Lee as of late last night.

Now reports from the Associated Press at 12:17 a.m. seem to support that Lee is indeed a members of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies supposedly offered $100 million dollars for five years, and the left-hander has accepted it.

As a New York Met fan, I'm thrilled to see that the Yankees missed out on this opportunity to get Lee but at the same time I realize my Mets will have to face Lee at least five times a year for the next five seasons.

That means the Mets are already 1-4 and the season hasn't even begun yet.

Oh, my, not good.

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Have to tip your cap to Texas Rangers

OCTOBER 20, 2010


By JOE D'AMODIO

WEB SCRIBE

I have to admit I thought the American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers was all over when the Rangers blew a 5-0 lead in Game 1 and wound up losing 6-5.

I would have bet everything that the Rangers' season was over. I thought they needed to take the opening game to have any shot at ousting the mighty Yankees, especially after leading 5-0 in the late stages of the game.

Little did I know at the time that this Texas team is feisty bunch. They showed that by beating the Bronx Bombers three straight games to take a 3-1 lead in the ALCS.

Now, the Rangers are within a whisker of knocking off the defending world champs and can do so with a win today in the Bronx.

But I'm not counting the Yankees out just yet. I never do. They have too much heart and soul and are veterans at this postseason thing.

I expect the Yanks to win today and the series to return to Texas on Friday. The Rangers will need a big effort in Game 6 to hold off the Yanks. If not, they'll have their ace, Cliff Lee, who will no doubt be a member of the Yankees pitching rotation next season, ready for Game 7.

Will he win? I think so.

But win or lose, these Texas Rangers showed me something.

O's move to get Buck paying off

Buck Showalter has the Baltimore Orioles playing tough, competitive baseball in the A.L. East.
Buck Showalter has the Baltimore Orioles playing tough, competitive baseball in the A.L. East.

Showalter has O's playing hard

September 8, 2010

By JOE D'AMODIO

WEB SCRIBE

It's nice to see Buck Showalter has settled in nicely as skipper of the Baltimore Orioles.

The one-time New York Yankees manager has the O's playing tough hardball as evidenced by Tuesday night's win over the Yankees and then today's heartbreaking last-inning loss to the Bronx Bombers.

SInce taking over in July, Showalter has led the Orioles to a 21-14 record, including yesterday's loss. That's a great record considering Baltimore is currently 53-87.

Showalter is a true baseball man, who will get the most out of this team, however hard that may be with the Yankees, Red Sox and improving Blue Jays in the division.

I would have loved for my Mets to make a play for Buck after the season, but that won't happen now. And that's OK, I rather see him managing in the A.L. East, trying to wreak havoc on the Yankees' plans to win another division title.

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Mets' swoon begins

September 1, 2010

By JOE D'AMODIO

WEB SCRIBE

The annual late-season collapse by the New York Mets has started in earnest, except that they have begun two days earlier than normal.

The Mets' poor play usually occurs in September, but this time they couldn't wait as they suffered two poundings at the hands of the Braves the last two nights to close out August.

That is setting up an ugly final month of the season in which the Mets have compiled a 132-181 record the last 10 Septembers combined.

Heading into the campaign, Las Vegas oddsmakers had the Mets winning around 84 games. Now getting to 74 wins will take a lot since the Mets threw in the white towel by unloading outfielder Jeff Franceour.

More trades will follow and with the kids coming up for the September call-ups we all can look forward to another 10-20 September.

Hey, at least the Amazins are consistent.

Oh, well, there's always next year.

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Strasburg may be down, but he's not out

Things look bleak right now for Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg, but it's not the end of world as other hurlers have found out.
Things look bleak right now for Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg, but it's not the end of world as other hurlers have found out.

Strasburg's career not over

By JOE D'AMODIO

WEB SCRIBE

Ok, so almost everyone in the media has written off Washington Nationals pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg, whose 2010 and 2011 seasons have been cut short by a torn ligament in his right pitching arm.

"His career is over," said one journalist on one of the morning sports shows Friday.

"It was nice while we knew him," said another.

Well, as dark as it looks today for Strasburg and the Washington Nationals, who have invested a ton of money and more into the rookie hurler, his career is far from over, even though his right arm may require Tommy John surgery.

Need some proof?

Look no further than Oakland A's All-Star reliever Andrew Bailey, who suffered the same type of injury as Strasburg during his sophomore year at Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y. Bailey missed his junior year and then came back and dominated his senior season, before being selected in the Major League Baseball Draft that June.

All Bailey did was work his way up from A-ball to the pros in less than two seasons and is now one of the most dominant relievers in the game.

Some say he's throwing the ball better now than he ever has. And Bailey isn't the only one who has come back from this type of injury for one. Tommy John himself was better than ever and there's been a lot of others.

So Nationals fans have some hope and patience. In the end, Strasburg will bounce back from this injury and be better than ever.

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Do you think Strasburg's career is over? Tell me what you think.

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    Dibble off base with comments on Strasburg

    Since we're on the subject of Stephen Strasburg, I will point out that former Major League Baseball pitcher Rob Dibble, who is now a baseball analyst, was way off base when he suggested the other day that Strasburg had to suck it up in the big leagues when the righty phenom was experiencing pain in his pitching arm.

    In case you missed it, here is some of what Dibble had to say.

    "This is the major leagues. This is not college any more. You're not on scholarship. You're being paid to do the job and guys depend on you, and I think it's unfortunate that the Nationals and the team are in a situation here where this kid now, he feels any kind of arm pain, he's gonna call you out? That's scary to me."

    He went on to talk about the modern-day player and said, "You give these guys $15 million bucks, please. Get your butt out there and play every fifth day."

    Of course, Dibble didn't know how serious Strasburg's injury was at the time, and Friday he backtracked on some of those comments, and rightfully so.

    It's just that as a former major leaguer, Dibble, who once got into a post-game locker room fight with his manager Lou Piniella while playing for the Cincinnati Reds, should have known better.

    Didn't we all learn from what happened to former Houston Astros pitcher J.R. Richards?

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    Time is up for Met manager Jerry Manuel

    Jerry Manuel is a wonderful bench coach and probably a great guy, but he's certainly not a manager, according to one writer's standards.
    Jerry Manuel is a wonderful bench coach and probably a great guy, but he's certainly not a manager, according to one writer's standards.

    Mets season is officially over

    I think it's safe to say the New York Mets' season ended with Thursday night's 11-4 debacle to the Florida Marlins.

    The Mets had a 4-0 lead at one point, before the Marlins beat up on Met starter Jonathan Niese and then hammered the bullpen into oblivion,

    It's time the Mets say goodbye to manager Jerry Manuel, a nice guy, no doubt and a great bench coach, but certainly not a manager, according to my standards.

    Like his players, Manuel provides no leadership on a team that desperately needs a leader. David Wright plays too timid, Carlos Beltran is too quiet, Jose Reyes, well, is Jose Reyes and Jeff Francoeur doesn't hit enough to lead.

    Johan Santana is one the players look up to, but he can't lead by playing once every five days for six or seven innings.

    This Met team either needs a very vocal, well-respected manager, or needs to bring in two or three players who are leaders in the clubhouse and are going to hold the other players accountable for their actions ... or in the Mets case ... their inactions.

    Met fans have had it up to here (I'm holding my right hand up to my head) with management and the players.

    It's time for a change. RIGHT NOW!

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