Monday, September 29, 2008

Heartbreak Once More

The monkeys attended the Shea Finale yesterday. As the Cubs took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning, the monkeys were getting ready for a celebration. Carlos Beltran who was really strong down the stretch hit a game tying homerun and things looked pretty good there for a bit. After Nick Evans threw to the wrong base, Jerry Manuel made what looked for a bit like the move of the year bringing in Endy Chavez who promptly made what could have turned into a game saving catch.

Then a little bit after 4, it all fell apart. Scott Schoeneweis let up a go ahead homerun. Luis Ayala followed by allowing one of his own. And in Milwaukee, Ryan Braun hit a 2 run homerun. In the history of professional sports, how many times has the season determined by which team had the better Jew?

Carlos Delgado and Ryan Church each gave noble efforts to save the season exciting the home crowd, but neither shot was good enough. Some fans are blaming Jose Reyes' last week or David Wright for not getting enough clutch hits. Here's what the monkeys say: Don't!

37 doubles 19 triples 16 homers 68 RBI for Reyes is good enough.

42 doubles 33 homers 124 RBI for Wright is good enough.

Listening to idiots like Mike Francessa talk about trading these two burns us up. It's not about the stars. It's about the supporting cast and the bullpen.

If the games ended after 6 innings, the Mets would have by 11.5 games. If the games ended after 8 innings, the Mets would have won by 6.5 games. Pretty strong case that the bullpen is the thing that cost the Mets the playoffs.

The Mets need tougher supporting players not better superstars. For 24 fans, they need more Tony Almedias than Milo Pressmans.

In the next few days, we'll go over who should stay and who should go. For now, Shea Goodbye.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Heroic Effort Keeps Mets Alive

The most clutch regular season start in the history of the Mets. The start that may get him the CY Young despite a bullpen that has sabatoged his efforts to win the award all year. A potentially franchise changing start. None of this is hyperbole.

Johan Santana pitched a complete game shutout on 3 days rest for a team that desperately needed a hero to take them on his back. The Mets fans who have endured tough losses all year including the worst one of all this past Wednesday were dying for a hero. And despite declaring himself running for office at the eleventh hour, Ramon Martinez just wouldn't look quite right as our candidate. No the title fits Johan Santana as well as it fits Batman, Spiderman, James Bond or Superman.

Santana has been called upon so often to "save the season," the monkeys would have understood if this last task was just too much for one man. He beat the Phillies to help avoid the big sweep. He beat the Cubs on Tuesday to stop a three game slide. Honestly, it was like the monkeys were at a sedar saying If he beat the Phillies and didn't save our ass on Tuesday, Dayenu. If he had saved our ass on Tuesday and not pitched a shutout on Saturday, Dayenu. Only it wwouldn't have been sufficient. The Mets have needed Santana every time.

And here's the thing that really endears Santana to monkeys and Mets fans. If he had lost today, you know damn well he would have been devastated. Hear that, Glavine? That's what a hero does and says.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"The Slide" May Have Changed Meaning

The monkeys have written that it is slightly unfair to compare the end of the year struggles of the 2008 Mets to that of the 2007 Mets. After all the 2007 version had a 7 game lead with 17 to go and the 2008 team came from 7.5 games behind to take a never truly secure lead of 3.5 games before coughing it up. Nevertheless as Jerry Manuel is fond of saying "This is who we are." And knowing that, it is hard to completely criticize the desciption of recent events as a "slide."

After yesterday's game, the Mets pray that they have changed the meaning of "the slide." After trailing by 3 runs and looking at a grim suituation, the Mets received clutch hits from unlikely heroes Ramon Martinez and Robinson Cancel. It appeared that Ryan Church was a dead duck ay home plate, but Church stopped his momentum, changed direction, pulled his body away from the catcher, sneaked around him and dove in to home plate, passing by the catcher’s mitt. He actually had to dive back one more time because he probably missed the plate the first time.

Carlos Beltran got the big hit in the ninth that was lacking the night before, but if the Mets do indeed make it to October, we'll all be talking about "the slide" for years to come. And if the Mets to are able change the connotation of that word after all that has happened, it would mean the world to this franchise.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tatis Injury is Having a Major Impact

The monkeys attended Shea Stadium last night for what may prove to be the final time. Upon leaving, we turned to each other and said "They can't burn this place down fast enough." The game was pure torture.

Now all started well and good. Carlos Delgado hit a huge grand slam homerun and the familiar chants of "MVP! MVP!" filled Shea Stadium. Shea Jones' father provided the home crowd some energy as news of his big homerun hit the scoreboard. After Santana's start the day before and a day like today, disaster had been averted. But things were about to take an ugly turn.

Oliver Perez, who has been the best big game pitcher this side of Johan Santana, had control issues and a high pitch count heading into the fifth. It caught up to him as he allowed two runs and then left two runners on for the poison pen to try and clean up. We all know how that story ends and the game was tied.

After Brian Stokes allowed the lead run, the Mets tried to roar back in the bottom of the seventh. For a while it appeared that Ramon Martinez (Yes, he is on the team) was going to get the biggest hit of the year as he led off with a double. The Mets had first and third and could not score. The following inning the same situation presented itself and the Mets were able to tie (due to a generous walk) before hitting into an unlucky double play.

Then came the ninth where after a leadoff triple, everyone at Shea stood ready to erupt knowing that the Mets had dodged the bullet. That 2007 was not happening again. But the eruption never came. David Wright struck out. The Cubs wisely walked Carlos y Carlos. Ryan Church grounded into a fielder's choice and Ramon Castro struck out.

Church who had been the MVP of the team before his concussion has been killing the Mets hitting .203 in September. But really, what choice does Manuel have other than to hope he regains his form. His other viable option was Tatis who is out with a separated shoulder. The same Tatis who was hitting .392 with runners in scoring position. Hmm, do you think they can use a guy like that?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What's Pascucci Doing Now?

With Fernando Tatis out for the season and Damion Easley questionable to return, the Mets can use another right-handed bat off the bench for their final nine games. Val Pascucci who has been a favorite in the blogging community has been passed over time after time, but there is no reason not to add him to the team now.

Pascucci hit 27 homers with 81 RBI. His OBP was a robust .410 and his OPS was .963 for the AAA Zephyrs. A spot just opened up on the 40 man roster with the surprising release of Al Reyes. The monkeys have heard reports of Pascucci's poor fielding, but the Mets don't need him to take the field just occasionally pinch-hit. While you don't want to clog up a 25 man roster with a guy like that, there is no reason not to add him to the expanded September roster. Perhaps with Nick Evans and Ramon Castro, he might not even be needed. But what happens if the Mets play an extra inning game down the stretch and are down to Ramon Martinez & Argenis Reyes to pinch hit against a lefty. There is no longer any excuse not to call up Val Pascucci.


Mr. Murphy came through again last night and it is easy to see why he has become a fan favorite. It should be mentioned that Nick Evans is hitting .343 against left-handed pitching and is doing the job with far less fanfare than his buddy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mets Win "The Brian Lawrence Game"

No one is giving out any style points at this team of the season. While it was a tough game to watch, the Mets got a needed win last night. Unfortunately neither the Cubs or Braves were able to help out. If you want to find another positive from last night, it looks like only 3 teams have a shot at the last two playoff spots. Since Hurricane Ike, the Astros have been twisting in the wind and now have become a real playoff longshot.

Yesterday the Mets sent out Brandon Knight, a journeyman who should not be pitching in games that are this important. It reminded the monkeys of last year's Brian Lawrence game where we thought the same thing. However, Knight gave a decent if not lengthy effort and got a key win. Remember the Mets only missed playing October by one game and if they make it this year, it may be only one game and it might be ... the Brian Lawrence game.


If you listen carefully to Jerry Manuel and read between the lines, Ryan Church had played his last game against lefties until Tatis got injured. He was ready to put Evans back in left and then move Tatis over to right. Church has looked awful against lefties. All of a sudden, this team looks a bit like the 2006 version that was so vulnerable against lefties, they went out and got ironman Moises Alou the following season.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Real Standings

New York Mets -
Philadelphia Phillies - 1
Milwaukee Brewers - 1
Houston Astros - 2.5
Florida Marlins - 5.5

This is how the monkeys and fans need to look at things. If the Mets can prevent 2 of these teams from passing them in these standings, they will be playing in October.

There is a myth that if the Mets lose the division, they will have collapsed again. The largest lead the Mets have had all year is 3.5. That was never a safe enough lead to be termed a collapse. The Phillies had a 7.5 game lead near the end of June. The Mets have gained 8.5 games on them since. Why are people not saying that the Phillies have collapsed? It is lazy for reporters to refer to this season that way just because last season was that way.

Luckily for the Mets and the Phillies, the real team that may be collapsing is the Brewers who shockingly fired their Manager Ned Yost today. Talk about a panic move. Even after losing 8 of 11, that seems a little extreme.

The Astros were making a serious run before weather issues and Cubs pitching slowed their charge. We'll see if they can regroup and be a factor.

The Marlins are hot and still have 3 games each against the Phillies and the Mets making them the long shot pick.

If the Mets can survive with their poison pen for two more weeks without blowing too many leads, this Mets and Phillies rivalry may actually continue into October because the monkeys are starting to get the feeling both teams are going to the playoffs.