Have we just been shown the future? So far, it seems that we were on Monday night when the celebrated Mets prospect, Ike Davis, was called up from Triple-A to take the place of the dismal Mike Jacobs, who was designated for assignment. Just a few hours after Davis was suiting up for another game in the minor leagues, he was celebrating a victory over the Chicago Cubs, as well as a night in which he went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Since then, Davis has hit at a .318 clip, going 7 for 22 with 5 runs, 2 RBIs and a homerun, a monster 450-footer launched past the right-center wall against the Braves on Friday.
A no-hitter is a beautiful thing. It is near-perfect performance in the art of pitching, where the pitcher continues to get out after out without allowing a single hit by the other team. We, as an audience, are so infatuated by such a feat because of the great amount of skill, adjustment, athleticism, and, yes, luck that is required in just the right amount to get 27 hitless outs against some of the best baseball players in the world.
With the recent success of Twins closer Jon Rauch, aka the tallest, most intimidating man in baseball history, I started to think back on all of the great pitchers who stood towering and ominous on the pitching mound. Does their great height contribute to their great success? The obvious answer is no, but it is still interesting to take a look at some of the great Jolly Green Giants of major league baseball history.
I apologize for my lack of posts for a little over a year, but I’m sure that everyone can find it in their hearts to forgive me. Hasn’t everyone forgiven Bonds and A-Rod? Oh, they haven’t? Next topic….
…and even though it isn’t certain whether
that will happen now, or at the end of the 2009 season, it
has been determined a necessity. Don’t some doctors
prescribe medical steroids to a patient after they go through
surgery to help rebuild tissue and muscle? Hmm….that
would be a nice dose of irony, now wouldn’t
So….hey. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write anything and I promise that it has been within good reason. I’m not going to bore you with details, but the frenzy of my full-time college student schedule finally caught up with me, and I couldn’t help but to get carried away with it. Anyways, not a whole lot has been happening as far as the Mets are concerned thanks to the World Baseball Classic. Not to say that the WBC isn’t a great thing. I actually tried to wake up at 4:30 this morning to watch China vs. Japan, the first game of the series, but I found out that I am pretty successful at hitting the snooze button on my cell phone alarm for a good 3 hours until I begin to notice the sound of it.
Anyways, I am going to be on spring break next week, so hopefully I will have a lot more time to blog about my Amazins’. Maybe their starting 5 will me more finalized by the end of that week, but I doubt it. Things aren’t looking good for Freddy Garcia so far, and I can’t say that I’m all too surprised. After getting destroyed by hitters in his first two spring training games it’s going to take a late showing for him to gain some ground. Personally, I think that Livan will land the 5th spot, partially because of Redding’s injury and Niese’s inexperience. However, the race is anything but wide open, and Garcia could come back to pitch a perfect March.
Besides that, A-Rod and Ramirez have been dominating the headlines. The fact that A-Rod is out for at least 10 weeks only solidifies my determined belief that the Yankees will finish 3rd in the AL East behind the Rays and the BoSox. As for Manny? I guess we’ll see, but I am really beginning to think that he is diminishing the respect that many people hold for him…well, errr…that some people hold for him. Trying to get 100 million over 5 years!! Are you kidding!! Sorry Manny, but no one is going to cough up that big of a contract for someone as unstable as you, no matter how well you did last year in Dodgertown. My prediction: he’ll do well enough this year, but he is getting older and he won’t be enough to single-handedly clinch the NL West…watch out for the San Francisco Giants.
Okay. One more midterm left to study for. Later.
So far, everything that Jerry Manuel has told his team to do, they have done. Marty Noble put it best: “Jerry says jump. They don’t say how high, they jump.”
Fifty-nine wins. One hundred and two losses. Ouch. Thirty-two and a half games behind the division leader. Wow. Losing record at home and on the road. Not good.
- They ranked 27th in the MLB with a batting average of .251. Ahead of only the Padres, Reds, and A’s this poor production isn’t going to get it done. If you don’t get hits, you can’t win games.
- Along with their sub-standard hitting average, the Nationals as a team hit only 117 home runs and scored only 641 runs all season long. That means that the Chicago White Sox, the leading team in home runs last year, doubled the Nationals total with 235….and then added one more HR for good measure.
- Their starting pitching was bad. They ranked 24th in the league with an ERA of 4.66.
- Their relief pitching was worse. They earned a spot next to last in Major League Baseball by chalking only 28 saves as a team. That means that Francisco Rodriguez doubled Washington’s save total by himself.
- They committed the second most errors in the big leagues with 123 during the 2008 season.
As you can tell, it is no wonder that the Nationals ended up at the bottom of the National League East, let alone the entire MLB standings when the dust had cleared by the end of last season. The good news? That was last year.
The bad news? This year doesn’t look a whole lot more promising. At least not from a playoff perspective. I do believe, however, that they will win at least 10 more games this year. Definitely not playoff contenders. Not even contenders for the .500 club. But better. I mean, they can’t get much worse than last year can they? (Kudos to anyone who thought of the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, who hold the worst record in baseball history. They finished the season with a total of 134 losses, while only scraping up 20 wins.) Although the Nationals definitely didn’t make enough trades during the off season to seriously compete, there are a few things that should make Nationals Stadium a happier place in 2009:
- Adam Dunn will be playing first base. But he wasn’t given a two year contract for his glove. Sure, Dunn can’t hit for average and he strikes out more than almost every other player (In 2008 he hit a measly .236 thanks to 164 strikeouts). He does, however, hit balls. Far. Last year he crushed 40 home runs, trailing only behind Ryan Howard for the lead. This means that Dunn single-handedly recorded a third of the total of home runs that the Nationals, as a team, hit. That’s a big move. Also, with these home runs came 100 RBIs. Not too shabby.
- Christian Guzman was healthy for the first time in a while last year, and he should be looking for even bigger numbers at shortstop this year. Hitting at a .316 clip, Guzman led the Nat’s in hits and runs with 183 and 177, respectively.
- Ryan Zimmerman was injured for 76 games last season, which put a huge recession on team numbers. If he can stay healthy all season, there is no reason why he couldn’t hit 25 home runs while driving in 100 or more this year
- Lastings Milledge only has room to improve now that he will start his second consecutive year as the main center fielder. His 14 HR and 61 RBI will continue to get better, as well as his defense which has been known to be lackluster in the past.
1:09It’s here! As I type this, Sean Green is walking out to the mound at Ft. Lauderdale to face the lineup that the Baltimore Orioles have put together for this first game in the MLB’s Spring Training schedule. Although only 3 players in the Mets lineup today are expected to start later on in the season (Murphy, Church, Castillo) it is still a chance for fans to finally listen to live baseball again. Valentine will be playing third, Pagan will be occupying center field, Nick Evans will take the place of Delgado at first, and Cora will get a chance at shortstop.
In fact, right when I was about to start writing about Sean Green, who got the start today, he was taken out of the game. He came off of the mound after giving up an
RBI hit to Wiggington. He immediately looked down at his right hand, which seems to indicate a minor blister. This is disappointing as I have been looking forward to seeing what kind of stuff our new righty has. He will be replaced by Pedro Feliciano for now, however.
More coverage to come. Until then, enjoy the first day of exhibition games!
Okay. I’m just going to come out and say it: I think that Jose Reyes is the best thing since sliced bread. I mean, think about it. Sliced bread, as far as I’m concerned, serves three main purposes in life:
1.) To be used as ends to a delicious turkey and swiss sandwich
2.) To be placed in a toaster, and then smothered with butter
3.) To be taken to the park so that hungry, blood-thirsty (that’s a story for another time) geese can be fed
Now lets take some time to see the main purposes that Jose Reyes serves in life:
1.) He brings energy to New York. There are only a few players in the Major Leagues that continue to maintain the high level of energy that Reyes brings to every single ball game. I absolutely can’t stand it when players such as David Ortiz, etc. make solid contact with a ball and then begin to watch it before they even consider running. Often times it will be a home run, but there are also those times that this portrayal of lolligagging leads to a missed opportunity. Reyes hustles out every ball. Period.
2.) He has a solid fielding glove. Stuck right in the hot spot of the diamond, Reyes’ fielding percentage of .974 for 2008 ranks right up there with some of the best fielding shortstops in the league: Vizquel (.993), Rollins (.988), and Jeter (.979).
3.) He steals bases. A lot. Although his numbers dipped a little last year, he still was second in the league with 56 steals, only getting caught 15 times. This makes him an essential factor to the National League “small ball” play, because he gets into position to score. By making the pitcher nervous he can also create enormous opportunities for Wright, Beltran, and Delgado.
4.) His 19 triples gave him the lead over every single other player in the big leagues last year (See “hustle” in number 1). Watching Reyes’ helmet fly off of his head as he legs out a triple is one of the most exciting things to watch in sports.
Okay. So now we now that Reyes’ usefulness far outnumbers that of sliced bread. Maybe the fact that Reyes is the first infielder to have 78 or more stolen bases in a single season since Maury Willis stole 94 bases in 1965 still doesn’t impress you. Or maybe Reyes’ ability to bat around .300 from both sides of the plate doesn’t make you realize how much of an asset he is. Maybe you can’t see how much his energy effects not just his fans, but all of Shea Sta….I mean, Citi Field. Maybe you’re one of the thousands of people that laugh at me when I say that I would take Reyes over Hanley Ramirez any day. Sure, Ramirez is a hybrid shortstop that continues to elevate the game in every at bat. He can run, hit for power, hit for average, and he can steal bases. In 2008, Ramirez accounted for 122 runs, produced 177 hits, pounded out 33 home runs, stole 35 bases, and still managed a .301 average. Reyes accounted for slightly less runs with 113, and also hit for a some-what lower average at .297. Even though Ramirez had 12 more runs and 17 more home runs, however, Reyes made up for those deficits by garnering 27 more hits, 3 more doubles, 15 more triples, and 21 more stolen bases. And all the while he is playing much better defense than Ramirez. If you’re following me by now you’ll see my point. Although his numbers may be slightly less than Rameriz’s in certain areas, Reyes CREATES OPPORTUNITY. Remember, a triple is the next best thing to a home run and Reyes had 15 more than Ramirez. Stolen bases also help to set up scoring opportunities. Reyes also struck out 40 less times than Ramirez over the course of the 2008 season. That’s a lot of missed opportunities for the Marlins.