Tuesday, April 29, 2008

David Finally Gets it Wright

The Mets won the game, but the monkeys will not be sharing a victory banana tonight. This was a game that the Mets just couldn't let get away. David Wright who struggled with runners on base came through with a walkoff hit in the 11th.

The Mets left 19 runners on base tonight against one of the league's weakest teams. So far this year, the offense has more closely resembled the 2007 that didn't go for the jugular when it had a team on the ropes than the division winning 2006 team that piled on the insurance runs. Because they couldn't get those extra runs, they had to further tax a bullpen that has been overworked this year. It doesn't take an elephant to remember that is what led to their demise last year.

Santana has been solid this year, but he needs to go deeper in a game against the lowly Pirates. Still he deserved the win. Duaner Sanchez and Billy Wagner each let up their first run of the year, but both limited the damage. Pedro Feliciano got a big out and Scott Schoenweiss dove and tagged a runner out at the plate. The bullpen exhibited a toughness that the offense did not tonight.

Of course, there were a couple of positives offensively. Jose Reyes was on base 6 times tonight. Endy Chavez broke out of his season long slump with 3 hits including the last one that ended with him scoring the winning run.


Carlos Delgado should have taken the curtain call when he had the chance. After his big day, he was back to 0-5.

How many times have the Mets played with a short bench the last couple of years? Is Schneider coming back this week? If not, put him on the DL and get another player up here.

It was stressful and it didn't come easy, but the monkey's will play the Pirates anytime.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Carpe Diem

The monkeys were looking forward to what should have been an easy day for the Mets with Johan Santana matching up against the struggling Pirates, but that matchup will be delayed by a day. So we decided to tackle the future of first base for the Mets.

While we are hopeful that Carlos Delgado will build on yesterday's performance, the possibility does exist that yesterday will just be an aberration in what has otherwise been a dismal season for Mr. Delgado. Clearly whatever he does from here on out, this will be his last year on the Mets.

The Mets have three early picks in this year's draft which is loaded with talented corner infielders. However, some early developments in the minors this year might mean the Mets can use the draft picks on other needs such as pitching and young outfielders.

Mike Carp has seized the day and gotten off to a torrid start. He has 6 homers, 20 RBI and is hitting .376 with a 1.061 OPS for AA Binghamton. These are his curent numbers and they include his current 1-16 slump. After an injury plagued season last year, Carp has put himself back on the radar.

The monkeys might argue that it would be even better for the organization if Nick Evans was the guy to step forward. Evans has hit 4 homers with 20 RBI and a .326 average also playing at AA. The thing about Evans is that he bats righthanded. With Ryan Church, exceeding expectations thus far and Fernando Martinez, the top prospect in the organization both left-handed, Evans would balance the lineup better.

Dan Murphy, though mostly a third basemen, has seen some time at first and hit .358 for AA. Some scouts feel he is the most natural hitter of the three, but his defense needs work.

Finally, Lucas Duda is off to a solid start at High A ball hitting .337 with 2 homers and 19 RBI. Duda, a left-handed bat has raw power, but it is still developing.

The opportunity is there for each of these young players. The next month will be important if they want to discourage Omar Minaya from drafting one of the many talented first basemen in this year's draft.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

What an unlikely list of heroes in today's game. The monkeys are getting used to efforts like this by Figgy, but it was still impressive to shut down the Braves until he tired in the sixth inning. Is Figgy a late bloomer and a find like Rick Reed was a few years back or is this just a nice little story that will be forgotten in June? Time will tell, but it's enjoyable to watch for now.

We don't know if Raul Casanova lives up to his name after the game, but he has been good lately at picking up hits. Casanova was 3-4 and had the big homerun today. Many people are not aware that he had 6 homers in 79 AB's last year so the power should not be a surprise. He also seems to work well with Figgy. The monkeys haven't missed Ramon Castro just yet.

While some fans are killing Omar Minaya, let's not forget to compliment him on these two players he pulled off the scrap heap.

Speaking of coming off the scrap heap, how about Carlos Delgado's day? 2 homeruns and 2 walks? Hopefully it's a sign of things to come and the worst of his slump is behind him. Will he be the player he was on Toronto or his first year with the Mets? No, probably not. But can he hit 20 homers, drive in 80 and hit .250 in his final season with the Mets? That's not too much to ask.

Luis Castillo had 3 hits, the bullpen pitched solidly, Willie managed the game properly and they played "I'm a Believer" in the 8th inning. All in all, a pretty good game for the monkeys.


Moises Alou hurt again? We know he is old enough to have seen the first "King Kong," in its initial release but c'mon already. Get back on the field.

Carlos, come out when the fans want a curtain call. They have been rough on you, but it's a fight you simply cannot win.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sorry, Tommy. We don't forgive you

The monkeys saw Tom Glavine's quotes in the paper today where he backtracked and now says as far as sports goes, his meltdown on the last day of the season was devastating. He was hoping the fans at Shea would give him a nice reception. Sorry, Tommy. Too little too late.

After a brilliant career with the Braves where he won 20 games 5 times and two Cy Young awards, the Braves refused to aggressively pursue him after he became a free agent. The Mets looking to improve their fortunes and weaken their rival, wined and dined the Glavine family until they got his signature on a 4 year contract.

Glavine’s tenure with the Mets was up and down. After a poor first year, Glavine started well in his second year making the All Star team before struggling in the second half. His third year was up and down, but his fourth year, he was pretty successful winning 15 games. All in all, Glavine gave the Mets innings, showed flashes of brilliance, but never really approached the level he had reached with the Braves.

After he became a free agent, Glavine made it clear that he was interested in returning home to Atlanta. The Braves due to either lack of interest or financial concerns never pursued him and Glavine returned one more year to the Mets. Again, he pitched almost 200 innings and had some strong starts, but not a Cy Young level season. However, at the very end of the season as the Mets were suffering through a historic collapse and in dire need of a performance reminiscent of what he had routinely given the Braves, Glavine was at his worst giving up seven runs and recording just one out.

To Mets fans that have been longing for a championship for over 20 years and had their appetite whet by coming oh so close the previous year, this was devastating. So with a wound so fresh, Glavine did not endear himself by stating he was “disappointed, but not devastated.” Three months later, Glavine resigned with the Braves telling everyone how great it was to be home.

Let’s say you were dating the hot girl in the office and then after several fun months when everything seemed to being really well, all of sudden she dumped you. Another less attractive girl in the office helped get you through it and was really, really attentive. After a while you started dating her. Before you knew it, you were dating her four years.

Now let’s say, you were a decent boyfriend, nothing special mind you, but you were around every Saturday Night, you took her to nice, but not lavish restaurants and every once in a while you even sent her flowers. Still, you didn’t treat her the way treated the hot girl. And every year at the office Christmas party, you flirted with the hot girl who dumped you. Even hinted that you would love to get back together.

Now let’s say after four years, the girl was pretty sure she was getting a ring. But instead you broke up with her … on Valentine’s Day … in the meanest possible way. And then when she complained how devasting it was you said “Devasting is what’s going on Iraq.”

Now let’s say after 3 months you get back together with the hot girl and tell everyone how great it is to be back where you belong. How do you think the less attractive girl is going to feel about you? I imagine she’ll feel a lot like Mets fans feel about Tom Glavine. And that’s why the monkeys and 50,000 fans will be booing him whenever we see him at Shea.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Swing, Man

Through the first 21 games, the Mets have had two big bullpen problems -- Aaron Heilman and Jorge Sosa. History tells us Aaron Heilman will eventually get better. He has gone through stretches like this every year. For his career, Heilman has a first half ERA of 4.77 and a second half ERA of 3.45. Not to be too "monkey hear monkey say," but it takes a while for Aaron to find his rhythm.

Jorge Sosa is a completely different story. Take away his career year with the Braves where he went 13-3 with a 2.55 ERA, Sosa's career ERA is 5.14. He has allowed an alarming number of homeruns. And his body language is not one that exudes confidence. A big part of the bullpen crew that fell apart last year, Sosa has worn out his welcome.

The Mets have a better solution in their system. You don't hear much about him. It is a name that Mets fans may not recall unless they undergo hypnosis since he was a part of a very traumatic day in recent Mets history. His name is Joselo Diaz. The other pitcher the Mets sent to Tampa Bay in the Scott Kazmir deal is back with the organization and seems to have finally overcome the control issues that have hindrerd his career.

Diaz has always thrown pitches that had velocity and movement. The monkeys were very impressed when they saw him during the Caribbean World Series and again in Spring Training.
His numbers at AAA are as follows:

24 Innings -- 13 hits -- 9 walks --- 21k's --0.90 WHIP

He can start, he can pitch long relief and he can get a key strikeout when needed. While the Mets cannot get Scott Kazmir back (at least for a while), wouldn't it be great if at least the other pitcher in that horrendous trade came up and added some much needed relief?

Leave it to the monkeys to let management know about the perfect swingman. It's so on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Virtues of Patience

We monkeys are not known for our patience. When we get a piece of fruit, we don't store it away for a later time. We get peeling right away. So it may seem funny that watching tonight's game made us think a lot about being patient.

Johan Santana gave another outstanding effort tonight. It reminded us what a great job Omar Minaya did by being patient. While fans were panicking that the Mets didn't have enough pitching and who was possibly going to replace the 200 innings Glavine provided, Minaya waited. While Arizona gave up 6 prospects for Dan Haren, Minaya waited. When the Twins said adding Fernando Martinez would seal the deal, Omar waited. And when all was said and done, Omar got his man at a very reasonable price.

Watching Lastings Milledge who we think will turn into a solid major league player if not a star reminded us that the Mets may still eventually regret this move. Not every 21 year old comes up and is as media savvy and mature as david Wright. Sometimes you need to be patient with youth.

Another strong outing by Duaner Sanchez proved you need to be patient coming back from injuries. Sanchez looks much stronger than he did in spring training when he couldn't hit 90 MPH with his fastball. Despite the bold proclamations to the Dominican papers, Pedro would be wise to take Duaner's path and be patient with his return.

Luis Castillo may be too patient at the plate taking 3-1 fastball after 3-1 fastball, but he had two hits and a stolen base tonight. He's hit between .290-.315 for 7 straight years so he'll hit better as the year progresses.

And though it was only baby steps, Delgado went 1-5 with an RBI tonight. He's been brutal so far, but even in his best years, Delgado was a streaky hitter. Remember last year, he finished with an OPS over 100 points higher than he had in the first half.

20 games in and we're 11-9. Not gangbusters yet, but be patient. Now let's honor Santana's effort and dance.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Blown Away in the Windy City

Today's game seemed like an instant replay of yesterday's game. Once again, the Mets had a few chances to score, but could not take advantage of them. Once again, their starting pitcher gave a nice effort that was good enough to win. And once again, the bullpen allowed the Cubs to mount an insurmountable lead.

The difference, of course, is that yesterday the Mets were coming off an emotional series with their chief rivals. They had arrived in Chicago after 3:00 in the morning. They were facing one of the top 5 pitchers in the league in Carlos Zambrano.

Today, they were facing a struggling starter in Ted Lilly. Carlos Delgado's vapor lock in not covering first base could not be blamed on lack of sleep. Jorge Sosa allowing another big blast late in the game cannot be blamed on an emotional letdown.

The problem the Mets face is that many fans are still angry about last year's collapse. Any little lull in their play is met with concern and doubts. They need to build some collateral with the fans again. The 5 game winning streak that just ended 3 games ago seems like the distant past. Like a betrayed lover, it will take a while to rebuild trust.

Lucky the Mets get the Nationals next. So far, this year they have been the tonic for all that ails.


A continued inability to get the big hit. The Mets had so many chances to get back in this game.

Carlos Delgado's lack of focus. After last year's "We're so good we get bored" comment, Delgado can't afford to get caught being lazy or he risks the fan's wrath.

Another fat pitch from Jorge Sosa. Maybe he is the guy who goes when Matt Wise is ready.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Not a Feliz Ending

The monkeys have been very nostalgic in this column lately. We remember in 1986 how the Mets swept the Cardinals early in the season and made a strong statement to their nemesis that "This year things were going to be different."

Although, we are happy the Mets won 2 out of the 3 for the second time this season against the Phillies, a real opportunity was missed.

Mike Pelfrey didn't have his best stuff, but unlike last year, he did not completely fall apart. More length would have been a good thing, but he kept the Mets in the game.

Chase Utley, David Wright, Derrek Lee, Justin Upton. The NL MVP will come from that short list.

It was good to see the Mets finally get to Adam Eaton, a mediocre pitcher who had mysteriously dominated them in his career.

Here we were glad to see Jimmy Rollins out and all of a sudden "Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle," his replacement Eric Bruntlett makes a game saving play.


Can ESPN's Jon Miller stop calling him Carlos Bel-Tron?

Can't hit, can't bunt, what can you do? Luis Castillo needs to pick it up. We can't have 4 more years of this.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Monkeying Around

In 1986, the greatest season ever for the Metsmonkeys, Davey Johnson began the season declaring that the Mets "would dominate the league." The Mets recorded a single proclaiming they were the best. Curtain calls afer homers which the Yankees have since copied originated at Shea. And the Mets won the World Series.

In 2006, Jose Reyes danced and monkeyed around in the dugout and was lauded for his energy and youthful enthusiasm as he led the Mets to within one game of the World Series.

Last year was the collapse. All of a sudden, it was Jose Reyes' celebrating that was pumping up the bad teams to really want to beat the Mets. Of course, if Reyes did not slump the last six weeks, the Mets would have won the division and this grasping for straws would not have occurred.

So we were delighted that Carlos Beltran, in an act of quiet leadership, pulled Reyes aside and told him to be himself. Reyes has since been hitting (big homerun in yesterday's victory) and has provided some needed energy to this team.

Monkeying around is fine when you win. When you lose, it joins Willie's bullpen management, the age of the team and the lack of leadership as topics people will look to find answers.


It's time to get Endy some at bats. He can't perform off the bench if he never starts. We know Church and Pagan have been solid, but give Pagan a day off here and there.

Knowing every Oliver Perez win and CC Sabathia loss raises the price for OP this offseason. Of all the Mets free agents, he is the one must sign.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Aces High

The Mets got a dominant performance out of their shiny new ace tonight. In a ballpark like Citizen's Bank, you want to keep the ball out of play as much as possible and Johan Santana did that with a 10 strikeout performance. And there is no better way to exorcise the demons from 2007 then to beat the Phillies especially with the supposed "demon slayer."

David Wright is looking like he wants to recover the MVP trophy that was ripped out of his grasp last year with the Mets collapse. A 4-4 with 2 more RBI.

Ryan Church continues to hit lefties which has been a very pleasant surprise to these monkeys. We'll have to dig up a good crow recipe if this keeps up after all our pro -Lastings Milledge comments around town.

Our fingernails are still long & healthy since Billy Wagner continues with his 1-2-3 innings.

Finally, caps off to Pedro Feliciano who continues to just quietly go about his job brilliantly.


The monkeys know Aaron Heilman is always better in the second half so we don't go crazy with his April struggles. But does Willie need to overuse him while he is struggling? And against the team he struggles most?

Can Luis Castillo apply for a license to drive in a run?

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Pen is mightier than the Bat

The Mets swept a team that they needed to sweep. That was a characteristic of the 2006 Mets that the 2007 Mets lacked.

The bullpen provided seven stellar innings and is really rounding into form. It will be interesting to see if Matt Wise is able to get his job back when he returns from his injury. After last year's collapse, it's hard to remember that up until August, the Mets had one of the league's best bullpens last year. It was only when the rotation stopped performing and the bullpen was ridiculously overworked that things fell apart.

Figgy provided another solid start. We don't have the memory of an elephant, but we remember when Rick Reed was a guy that bounced around a bit before finding his stride in his early 30's with the Mets. Too early to tell if this is the case, but you never know.

Caps off to Damion Easley who is again proving to be an invaluable member of the bench.


We know things even out, but it does seem like a lot of early calls are going against us. That play at third with Easley wasn't even close.

So many starters are not getting the win after a great effort. Figgy joins Perez, Santana and Maine as pitchers who didn't get a win they deserved in the early going of the season.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Maine Men

Great to see contributions tonight from some of the Mets "main men."

After John Maine's great spring, we were besieged with articles on how this was going to be his "breakout season." Maine came out a little too hyped up in his first start against the Braves and then was let down by the bullpen in his second start. Nice to see him get his first win and even though he was hard on himself at the end for those two walks at the end, this was a solid effort.

Carlos Beltran surprised everybody this spring by declaring the Mets as "The team to beat." We monkeys know how fun it is to swing and Carlos had been taking far too many pitches early on. Good to see Carlos join the fun and knock his first homer out of the park.

Those three games off really helped Jose Reyes. He has come back refreshed and is showing some power and energy that was lacking earlier in the season.

Great to have a Billy Wagner sighting tonight. A Nice 1-2-3 inning. So far, the Mets are doing a good job to insure he is fresh at the end of the year.

Other positives from the supporting cast:

Luis Castillo getting on base and clearing the pitcher's spot multiple times.

Ryan Church's homer on the eve of the Pope's visit

Joe Smith this April looking like the Joe Smith of last April.


Never throw behind the runner. Little League 101, Carlos. We'll forgive you though since you had the big homer.

A different eighth inning song. Why is there even any debate? "I'm a Believer" is the clear choice

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Flexible Mules

Stubborness has been a quality of Willie Randolph since he took over the Mets. Everyone who witnessed last year's loyal devotion to Guillermo Mota can attest to this. So it was certainly a pleasant surprise to see Luis Castillo moved to the eighth spot in the batting order after Randolph insisted that Castillo belonged batting second despite his early struggles.

Stubborness was also a quality of Mike Pelfrey who has refused to trust his stuff. Great to see Pelfrey go after hitters aggessively. You throw a hard, heavy sinker. We saw it last year against the Braves. With Humber and Mulvey traded and Niese as the only potential pitching prospect in the near future, the Mets have gone "all in" with Pelfrey. He needs to succeed.

Stubborness is Jose Reyes swinging at pitches in his eyes and popping up on the first pitch. Nice to see Reyes actually waiting for a pitch he could hit (a triple on a 2-2 pitch !!)

Stubborness is being hell bent on getting good Dominican food at any hour ..... Welcome back, Duaner!!!


Hey, Keith. How can you not know who A.C. Slater is? We still remember how well he treated Artie his pet chameleon? We don't remember your buddy Jerry being kind to animals.

More wasted opportunities to really put a team away. Can this team drive in a runner from third with less than two outs?

Seeing Lastings Milledge, a potential Afro-American star we gave away for less than his value on a night honoring Jackie Robinson.