Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Time For A Bullpen Tweak

Now the monkeys know that the Mets may very well add a bullpen arm before tomorrow's trade deadline and if they can get one without giving up one Fmart, Niese or Kunz, it's probably a good idea. However, if the price is not right, they can do a couple of quick moves today that would help their bullpen.

1) Call up Eddie Kunz and disable Duaner Sanchez. Sanchez has been very effective most of the year barring a few really rough outings (most recently in that horrible game against the Phillies), but he is coming off not pitching for a year, his velocity is down and he appears to be hitting a wall. Jerry Manuel has obviously been trying to push Heilman into that 8th inning role so he is a bit concerned. Give Sanchez two weeks rest and maybe he returns refreshed for the stretch drive. Meanwhile Eddie Kunz has been pitching great recently in AA. For the month of July, he has pitched 10 and 1/3 scoreless innings and his earlier issues with walks have disappeared as he has walked just one batter this month. He still has not allowed a homerun in 46 innings as he throws a 94 MPH sinker. That eighth inning guy they are seeking might be right under their nose.

2) Call up Claudio Vargas and demote Carlos Muniz. The monkeys know that Vargas will have his good days and his bad days, but he is a real long man that can provide innings and not burn the bullpen out. Since Pedro and now John Maine is a risk to provide very short outings due to injury, the Mets need someone who is better cast as a long reliever than Carlos Muniz who has been adequate at best.

These two tweaks would offer some improvement. A new piece may come tomorrow which would help, but if it doesn't, the Mets can help themselves.


Jon Niese makes his AAA debut. A strong effort will keep him top of mind if Maine's injury proves longer term than anticipated.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fresh Fish?

The monkeys are guilty. When we heard that the Marlins had traded Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis this past offseason, we thought that they were giving up on 2008 and retooling for another big run in maybe 2010. 100 losses? Perhaps. Last place? A virtual certainty. So, we are definitely surprised that the Marlins are coming to town just 2 games out and with some reinforcements that could make them a factor as the season nears its final third.

Followers of this blog know that the monkeys had thought Hanley Ramirez was the MVP of the first half. He has struggled so far in the second half (.190, 1 homer and just 2 RBI), but he'll likely go on another hot stretch. The Marlins lead all of baseball in homers playing in what is more of a pitcher's park. Jorge Cantu has a surprising 18 homers. Old friend Mike Jacobs has hit 22 homers (same total as the blazing Carlos Delgado). Dan Uggla has hit 25 making him the most underrated consistent power hitter in the league (27 homers in 2006, 31 in 2007). Matt Treanor's slow recovery from injury has them scrambling for a catcher, but beyond that, the lineup is solid.

The starting rotation had been up and down. Scott Olsen got off to a nice start after a poor season that included some immature behavior. However, he has struggled badly in July with an ERA over 6. Ricky Nolasco doesn't strike fear into most fans yet he has been a solid 10-6. It's the reinforcements that are primed to make an impact for the Marlins. Josh Johnson has returned from surgery throwing 93-94 MPH. While his command is not perfect yet, he has struck out 18 in 17 innings meaning he has good stuff that could get better. Top prospect Chris Volstad has looked good in 4 starts with a 2-1 record and a 2.38 ERA. Finally Anibel Sanchez is set to return and has looked good in rehab starts.

Will the Marlins hang with the Mets & the Phillies? The monkeys are still not convinced, but the Mets play them more than any other team the rest of the way so we'll all get a close look to analyze this further.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rewatch Rocky III

Carlos Delgado no looks bored. The Mets have the swagger that David Wright talked about the team needing to back in every interview he gave when the Mets were struggling. Meanwhile in Philadelphia, their MVP Jimmy Rollins showed up late to the rubber game of the Mets/Phillies series and was benched. A few weeks back, Rollins failed to run out a pop up that was dropped. It all got the monkeys thinking about Rocky III.

After Rocky beat Apollo Creed in Rocky II, we see that his celebrity has grown. He's on the cover of magazines, doing commercials and endorsements and just enjoying the fruits of his success. Meanwhile a new hungry opponent, Clubber Lang is climbing the ranks, rapidly becoming the number one contender for Rocky's title. He desperately wants a shot at the title, more or less declaring "he is the guy to beat," not unlike Jimmy Rollins' statement before the 2007 season that the Phillies were "the team to beat." A soft Rocky ended up losing his title to a hungry Clubber Lang just like the Mets lost out to the Phillies.

With the help of a new trainer, Rocky starts to get his swagger back not unlike what the Mets have done under their new Manager Jerry Manuel. Clubber Lang starts to become a little distracted giving interviews before the rematch ever so slightly losing his edge, not doing the little things that got him where he was.

As the two fighters get their instructions from the referee in the rematch, they stand nose to nose in center ring. In the first fight, the same pose brought averted eyes from Rocky, but now he stands up fully concentrated to Clubber's challenging stare. The Mets who been beaten up by the Phillies last year constantly cracking under pressure have this year stayed focused and won all 4 series against their rivals.

There is still a long way to go in the season, but the monkeys are seeing some interesting parallels. As we get to the final third of the season, time to ring the bell ... ding ding.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bullpen Makes Santana An Issue

The monkeys don't need to rehash yeserday's devasting loss. What bothers us though is that instead of talking about how Johan Santana came up huge in one of the biggest games of the year, some fans are complaining that he didn't demand to pitch the ninth. What's worse, Jerry Manuel through Santana under the bus saying he would have left Santana in had he pushed harder to stay in. C'mon, Jerry, that was just weak. Take responsibility for your poor decision.

The monkeys and other Mets fans have called out players when they didn't listen to the manager. Milledge kept dancing and celebrating despite Randolph telling him to stop. Fans called Jose Reyes a baby for arguing with Jerry Manuel about staying in a game. Carlos Delgado ignored his manager's request to bunt to third to counteract the shift. Now Santana listens and fans want to kill him for not protesting.

Johan Santana has made 21 starts and given up 2 earned runs or less in 12 of them. He has given up 3 earned runs or less in 17 of them. If Santana did the same thing next year, we could easily be talking about him winning the Cy Young.

Duaner Sanchez has been mostly solid this year, but he failed yesterday. Lefties are batting .153 against Scott Schoenweiss and Feliciano has been struggling so that bullpen choice was questionable. Luis Aguayo made some bad decisions sending runners from third. There is plenty of blame to go around yesterday, but Santana is not among those that should be named.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Which Prospects To Trade?

As we approach the trading deadline, Omar Minaya is faced with decisions regarding how much he is willing to mortgage the future for the present. The monkeys are here to help by going over the prospects that he can trade, should proceed with caution before trading and those he should not trade.

For those who do not know, you cannot trade anyone from this year's draft so guys like Ike Davis, Reese Havens and Brad Holt cannot be traded.

Fernando Martinez -- Although it would be foolish to expect him to help much this season, most scouts expect Fernando Martinez to develop into a superstar. He wowed them at the futures game and is just 19 competing at AA. Yes, his power is not developed yet (4 homers) and his walk/strikeout ratio (14 walks to 53 strikeouts) needs some work, but he is poised to be a mainstay that will cost the major league minimum for a couple of years which would allow the Mets to spend on other needs. If they wouldn't include him for Santana, don't trade him now. -- UNTOUCHABLE

Mike Carp -- After a torrid start, Carp has slumped a bit lately. Carp does have a good eye and some power, but his defense at first and in left have impeded his ascension to the majors. It would be nice to see what he could do, but there are other lefty first basemen in the organization and will be even more on the market if needed over the next few years --- TRADE BAIT

Jon Niese -- The top lefty pitching prospect in the organization, Niese is having a good year in AA (5-7, 3.22 ERA. 104 strikeouts, 43 walks). With Perez and Pedro question marks to return next year, Niese is the only viable in-house option to fill a spot. --- PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Bobby Parnell -- After a rough start this year, Parnell has pitched great. He throws hard and many feel he could wind up being a good bullpen piece. His delivery worries some though and that makes him a risk the Mets may rather someone else take. -- TRADE BAIT

Eddie Kunz -- The Mets first pick last year has 25 saves at AA. While he has to cut down on his walks, it is still something to watch. The number that sticks out though is that he has not allowed a homerun in 43 innings. His hard sinker could give the Mets bullpen another look. --- PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Nick Evans --- Evans has looked good at times, but mostly struggled so far in the majors. He may not be ready yet, but given how many of the Mets hitting prospects are lefty, it is probably a good idea to keep Evans who is really their only righty power prospect that is close. Even if he doesn't develop into a starting player, he could be a nice role player for several years --- PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Dan Murphy -- Murphy recently volunteered to move to second base. He has made 3 errors, but has looked decent there so far. He has hit 11 homers and 19 doubles at AA and is a selective hitter. Many scouts feel he is the best of the "Holy Trinity" (Carp, Evans, Murphy) at AA. Still, his lack of position makes you have to at least think about giving him up for the proper return -- TRADE BAIT

There are others in A Ball who should be considered trade bait including Michael Antonini and Ezequiel Carrera. There are also others that should be untouchables like Scott Moviel.

The Mets should not doing any 4 for 1 trades at this point, but to get a quality outfielder that could put them over the top, putting Parnell and Carp in an offer would be okay. Remember you have to give to get it. Well usually......

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Our Next Pelfrey?

In 2001, after Mike Hampton left the NL Champion Mets for the great school systems of Colorado, the Mets used their supplemental first round pick to draft David Wright. This year after Tom Glavine after what seems like years of begging to be brought back was signed by the Braves giving the Mets another supplemental pick. They used it on Brad Holt.

Before Rick Peterson was fired, he did leave a lasting impression that there is a certain body type and certain mechanics needed for a pitcher to be successful. It was this feeling that had the Mets organization believing Scott Kazmir would eventually break down and helped lead to the infamous trade. Still, Mike Pelfrey has the required body type and seems to be developing into a horse that could throw a lot of innings and be a top of the rotation starter for many years to come.

Brad Holt is 6 foot 4 and has a perfect pro body with a clean delivery. His fastball sits between 92-94 and touches 96. He is athletic and maintains his velocity deep into games. Like Pelfrey early in his development, he is working to improve his secondary pitches. He made the Baseball America Hotsheet with the following comments:

The Scoop: A supplemental first-round pick out of UNC Wilmington, Holt delivered his best professional outing yet by pitching seven shutout innings and striking out 10 in a game against State College. Holt struck out the game’s first four batters and retired the leadoff batter in each of the first six innings. His first start did not go well, but since then Holt has allowed three earned runs in 20 2/3 innings as hitters are struggling to catch up to his 94 mph fastball.

Early on, it seems the Mets have had a good draft in 2008. Holt is one the main guys the monkeys will continue to follow. Next year, he'll likely start at St. Lucie and hopefully move up to Binghamton. It's not crazy to think Holt may debut in the majors by 2010.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Monkeys Mid-Season Awards

Best Swinger --

National League -- Lance Berkman's year will be underappreciated because his team is playing poorly, but he has been a tremendous offensive force this year with 22 homers, 30 doubles and a 1.096 OPS.

American League -- Josh Hamilton is a great story and a great hitter. 95 RBI's at the break is just a shocking number. Hamilton has hit 21 homers and has a .310 BA making a triple crown season a possibility.

Best Climber --

National League -- Ryan Ludwick was a nice player for the Cards last year, but he has really taken off this year and is a big piece of one of the NL's biggest surprises with 21 homers and 65 RBI's at the break

American League -- Carlos Quentin struggled last year with 5 homers, 31RBI and a .214 BA. At this year's break, his numbers were 22 homers, 70 RBI and a .276 BA for the surprising first place White Sox.

Slipped on a Banana Peel --

National League -- Troy Tulowitzki was the heart and soul of the Rockies NL champion last year coming in second place in the Rookie of the Year voting (24 homers, 99 RBI). This year in an injury plagued season, he has 3 homers, 16 RBI and a .166 BA.

American League -- Travis Hafner who was so important in Cleveland's division winning team in 2007 (24 HR and 100 RBI) has been awful this year (4 homers, 22 RBI, .217 BA) while battling injuries.

Throwing the Poop --

National League -- Edinson Volquez (12-3, 2.29). Incredible to say, but the Reds may have gotten the better of the Josh Hamilton trade with this budding Ace. The Reds are struggling early this year, but with Volquez, Cueto, Bruce and Votto, the monkeys like their future.

American League -- Cliff Lee (12-2, 2.31) has been dominant this season after struggling last year. The Mets had some conversations about him this offseason. Imagine if they had added him to what has been a solid rotation.

Top Banana --

National League --- Hanley Ramirez. Who would have thought Florida would be hanging around with the Phillies and the Mets at the break? Ramirez has gotten a ton of clutch hits and has hit 23 homers with a .311 BA taking over from the departed Miguel Cabrera as the face of the franchise.

American League -- Josh Hamilton. Have to go back to this year's biggest story. He has a lot to be thankful for and does promote his savior every chance he gets. Easy guy to root for.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is Omar Bluffing?

Omar Minaya stated in today's papers that he is unlikely to make a trade as we head toward the deadline. Minaya claimed that the Mets will solve any issues they have internally. "We can't keep doing four-for-one deals," Minaya said. Minaya is right on that account. Still, the monkeys can't be sure Minaya isn't bluffing. Even if he was interested in acquiring an outfielder, it would be wise to take the stance he took and not seem like he was dealing from a position of weakness.

A big question is if Ryan Church is really just a week or two away from contributing. The tests he took indicated that the migraines are not related to his two concussions, but Church has had false starts before. If Church is indeed ready to play again, perhaps the Mets can piece together a combination to play left field.

Minaya believes Nick Evans is going to grow into a .280-plus hitter who produces 20 homers and 80 RBIs annually. Evans has looked better in a limited sample since his second callup. He went the other way and got two solid singles on Sunday. The monkeys feel that we would rather see Evans get a longer look rather than activating Angel Pagan who doesn't have nearly the power potential that Evans has. Perhaps it will be proven that Evans is still not ready, but why not give it a shot? With the organization a little lefty heavy with their first base and outfield prospects (Mike Carp, Fernando Martinez, Ike Davis), Evans will potentially have a major role on this team even as a bat off the bench for several years. Let's see what he's got.

The Mets can keep riding with Chavez and Tatis for a bit longer, but both players are probably better suited coming off the bench and playing in small spurts. The monkeys expressed our feelings about rushing Fmart in our last column. Let's see him dominate AA for a little while before throwing him into the fire.

We agree with Minaya's assessment that Eddie Kunz or Bobby Parnell could fill a bullpen role if needed. Kunz has 25 saves as Binghamton's closer and has not allowed a homerun in 41.2 innings which sounds good to the monkeys who have watched the bullpen in the majors give up their fair share. He has improved each month this season and only needs to cut down on his walks (23 in 42 innings) to eliminate any lingering doubts. After a rough April where he had an ERA of 7.15, Parnell has pitched extremely well lowering that ERA to a much more respectable 3.94. Parnell throws in the mid 90's and is a starter, but some scouts feel his stuff is better suited in relief. Both are close to being ready.

The next few weeks will be very interesting. If Church is indeed healthy, we feel the Minaya should fold and not play in the trading market. If Church is not healthy, we can't help but think Omar is going to go All In. And if he does that he had better win his hand or in this case, the World Series.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Glimpse Into The Future

The monkeys will be checking out a bit of the Futures Game today to catch a glimpse of the Mets top prospect Fernando Martinez. Everyone remembers that when Omar Minaya traded for Johan Santana, Martinez was the one prospect he immediately pulled off the table. This Mets regime typically challenges its minor league players and as a 19 year old playing in AA, Martinez illustrates this strategy more than any other Mets farmhand.

So far this year, Martinez has been good, but not yet great(.294, 4 HR, 21 RBI in 218 at-bats this season in Double-A. He was slowed down by a hamstring injury and Mets VP Tony Bernazard has indicated that FMart may have been called up if the injury had not slowed him down. Martinez was limited to 60 games at Double-A Binghamton last season because of a broken bone at the base of his right hand that required surgery. He still needs to put together a few weeks of dominant play with some increased power before he is called up. The situation with Alou & Church may cause the Mets to rush him, but they should be cautious for now.


Looks like Angel Pagan will be back with the team soon after the All-Star break. Pagan was doing a nice job before his injury, but he lacks the power to be a fulltime solution. Still with Robinson Cancel and a perhaps overmatched (though the monkeys feel the jury is still out on that) Nick Evans filling up roster spots, Pagan would be an upgrade for the bench.


It was refreshing to hear Damion Easley talk about "earned confidence." What a 180 turn from last year's Carlos Delgado quotes about the Mets being so good that they get bored sometimes. Lesson learned? Looks like it was by some.


The monkeys posted a clip of the Dallas "Dream Season" before the Phillies series and said if the Mets swept then it would be like everything that had happened before never happened. The Mets came close taking 3 out 4. With the Mets now only 1/2 game out, it is almost like a new season as we head toward the second half. It was outlandish for the producers of Dallas to tell their audience that an entire season of the show was only a dream. However, it would have been just as outlandish for fans to think the Mets were going to basically get a mulligan on the first half of the season after all the drama and poor play. Caps off to the Mets for their fine play heading into the break.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Eight Belles Finally Put To Sleep

It comes to nobody's surprise that Moises Alou tore his hamstring diving for a ball during a rehab game. It was not a shock to learn that he will likely need season- ending surgery that could easily mean career ending surgery. While the monkeys raised an eyebrow wondering why this fragile old man bothered to dive in a minor league AA rehab game, it also reminded us why he was a worthwhile gamble in the first place.

Moises Alou is a gamer. It is often said that he could fall out of bed and turn on any fastball. The only problem would be that he would probably realize after getting three hits that he had pulled three muscles and tore his calf & hamstring falling out of bed.

Alou was limited to 87 games in 2007 by a quadriceps injury last season, but he hit an impressive .341 with 13 home runs, 49 runs batted in and only 30 strikeouts in 328 at-bats. He set a franchise record with a 30 game hitting streak. He made other guys in the lineup better. In the two years Alou played for the Mets, David Wright hit .339 on the days Alou was in the lineup. If he had been able to repeat even just the 300 AB's, he would have been worth bringing back. Given what else was out there, the monkeys can't fault Omar for rolling the dice.

Sometimes when you gamble you lose. Such is the nature of gambling. And with Ryan Church a question mark after his two concussions and Moises Alou likely finishing this season with 49 at bats, this gamble by Omar looks pretty bad right now, but a losing bet always does.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pelfrey Revisited

Mike Pelfrey won his fifth straight start yesterrday and is looking like a pitcher that will be a mainstay in the Mets rotation for several years. The monkeys told everyone that Pelfrey just needed some time. When we wrote our May 5th column, many fans were ready to give up on Mike, but the monkeys wrote the following about Pelfrey studying Brandon Webb:

Well to date, Pelfrey has more closely resembled Peter Parker than a webslinger, but there is reason to believe Pelfrey can get there. Pelfrey does throw a hard sinker that tops out at 97 MPH. Mets fans have seen a few rare glimpses where this could be a dominant pitch. As Pelfrey observes from Webb, he needs to pound the strike zone which he just hasn't done consistently. The New York Times article states that Pelfrey is performing balance drills intended to get his hand on top of the ball when throwing the pitch. When Pelfrey does not do that, his sinker flattens out, running laterally across the plate instead of diving down in the zone, where hitters often cannot help but pound the ball into the ground — à la Webb.

Mets fans need to acknowledge that the Mets have rushed Pelfrey along. A lot of that has been more on need rather than merit. Pelfrey made a grand total of 33 starts in the minors (only 16 at AAA)and pitched a total of 176 innings. 2006, Fausto Carmona another pitcher with a power sinker was mishandled and wound up going 1-10 with a 5.42 ERA. He has since blossomed into one of the AL's best pitchers. You can't teach "stuff." Sometimes it takes time to harness talent.

The Mets have "pushed" their young talent. They have 16 year olds playing professional ball in the rookie leagues. They have a 19 year old playing in AA. Very few teams are this aggressive with their prospects. Under ordinary circumstances, fans should be patient with prospects when they first get to another level. But fans of the Mets need to be even more patient.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Back In The New York Groove

Well they certainly made the monkeys sweat and Billy Wagner made us curse, but when all was said and done, the Mets took 3 out of 4. As Jerry Manuel said, they accomplished an awful lot. They are now above .500, just 2 games behind in the loss column and as much as we hate this expression with a passion, "the monkey is off the Mets back" as far as beating the Phillies as their season record against them is now 7-3.

This is just the beginning though. The Mets need to use this series as a jumping off point. Yes, a letdown is to be expected tonight particularly since they are facing SI cover boy Tim Lincecum. Still if they lose tonight, they need to recover and take the next two and win this series. The same this weekend against a Rockies team that struggles on the road. Hard to believe, they even have a chance to go into the break in first place after all that has happened in this tumultuous first half.


Not many expected a sequel to the Johnny Depp bomb and perhaps many were dubious the Mets would give Nick Evans another shot so soon after he appeared over matched his last time up. Still, give credit to Evans who went back to AA and continued to rake. He still is the best in-house option to break out and become that righty middle of the order bat the monkeys have said is the Mets greatest need. Let the kid play.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Jekyll and Hyde ... The Evil .500 Monster

The biggest series of the year so far is halfway over and the Mets looked both like a team that just doesn't have what it takes to win this season and a team on the verge of making a second half charge. Following a bad loss where the Mets wasted yet another strong Santana start missing scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity, the Mets yesterday provided clutch hitting and toughness. Following an outing where Duaner Sanchez allowed the winning run to score in the ninth, Sanchez came back and got two big outs to snuff out a potential Phillies comeback.

The single most frustrating thing in Game #1 of this series was Johan Santana swinging at a 2-0 pitch with the bases loaded. J.A. Happ was struggling with his control. The monkeys figured Santana would have been told to take 2 pitches yet alone 1. Later in the at-bat, Santana let Happ off the hook by swinging at another pitch almost above his head. Pitcher or no pitcher, this was an awful at-bat that might have cost the Mets the victory. While Santana has hinted his teammates haven't provided him enough support, he has no one to blame for this no decision than himself.

Yesterday, Brian Schneider got his biggest hit as a Met. The monkeys have supported the increased playing time that Jerry Manuel has given Ramon Castro, but Schneider is still a pro's pro so we were really happy for him there. The Mets victory was clouded by injuries to John Maine and Ryan Church. As of now, neither seems serious, but time will tell.

The Mets need to find a way to win these next two games. If they do, they will have made a big statement. If they split, it wouldn't be tragic. However, they can't continue being Jekyll and Hide the evil .500 monster and expect to win the division.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Opportunity Knocks

The monkeys want to talk about the big series before all the other nonsense that are taking off the headlines the last couple of days. And first let's tip our caps to Jerry Manuel who unlike previous manager Willie Randolph actually acknowledges that this is indeed a big series.

If the Mets were to pull off a 4 game sweep (a difficult task, no doubt), they would be within a half game of the Phillies and would be essentially getting a mulligan on the first half of the season. Imagine that. All the drama surrounding this team would be instantly washed away and the season would almost begin anew. It would be like when Pamela Ewing woke up and opened the shower door and saw Bobby Ewing and realized the entire season had been a dream. What an opportunity!

That being said even 3 out of 4 would accomplish an awful lot. It would make the Mets 7-3 vs. the Phillies for the season and continue their efforts of exercising last year's demons. It would put them just 2 behind in the loss column and give them a chance to have positive feelings going into the break if they have a good final week.

A split would be like kissing your sister like all ties are said to be. It wouldn't put the Mets out of it, but there would be a feeling of a missed opportunity. Still, it is a road series against a good team so it wouldn't be a tragedy if the Mets gained a game next week and finished the break within 3.5 games.

If the Mets lost 3 out of 4, it would be a blow. The team has played better baseball lately and going back to 6.5 would put them only 1 game way from their biggest deficit of the season. And after getting a break and missing Cole Hamels this series, it would be a very bad sign if this happened.

If the Mets lost all 4 games, it would be a tragic blow that would make the Mets need to really reevaluate their strategy for 2008. The Mets have been stubborn about making themselves sellers when the situation calls for it. In this case, the Mets need to understand the fans are savvy and would understand if they traded off some pieces to get younger and try for another run soon. This team is not one that is universally loved and no one is going to shed tears if the Mets get swept and decide to shake up a team that collapsed in 2007 and looks like a pretender in 2008.

Lots of different scenarios abound. The monkeys are optimistic. Johan Santana needs to step up like an ace and beat JA Happ who was just called up from the minors. The monkeys have written about how they are not disappointed with Santana because he has mostly pitched in bad luck, but there can be no excuses tonight. If the Mets score 1 run, he needs to pitch a shutout. If there are errors, he needs to bail his team out. The monkeys are confident he'll come up big.


Most New York papers are writing headlines today about the Jose Reyes- Keith Hernandez confrontation. Reading the story, it seems like things have been blown a little out of proportion. Keith is allowed to criticize Jose when he acts like Tanner Boyle. Reyes shouldn't be so concerned with what others are saying about him. Take a cue from the Bronx Shortstop who shrugged off the poll where his peers voted him the most overrated player in the game.

The other recent story is how Jerry Manuel didn't know who Val Pascucci was. This story was under-reported. The monkeys are among several bloggers that have lobbied for Pascucci to be added to the Mets bench. When the monkeys interview with a company, they make sure they research the company. Manuel should know the Mets system particularly the ones at AAA that might be needed. His excuse that Pascucci wasn't at spring training was lame. We're pretty sure that Manuel doesn't know who Wilmer Flores is. And if he doesn't learn soon, he shouldn't be around long enough to reap the rewards that Flores will be giving.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pen Has Stopped Leaking

Duaner Sanchez had a scary moment yesterday after getting hit by a line drive. Lucky for the Mets, it looks like it was just a bruise. Duaner is 3-0 with a 3.79 ERA, but he has been even better than those numbers indicate. He has only allowed runs in 7 of his 34 outings and has not allowed a run in his last 9 outings. Take away 2 outings and he has pitched 34 innings and allowed just 7 runs for a 1.84 ERA. Although there are still times it looks like he is still holding back a bit because of his previous shoulder issues, he really has been a key cog in the Mets bullpen.

Aaron Heilman has not allowed a run in his last 10 appearances. What's more, he has been getting a good number of strikeouts. His ERA is still a high 4.60, but it had a long way to come down. Earlier in the year, Heilman was falling in love with his changeup leading to a ton of homeruns allowed. Since April 26th, he has allowed just 1 homerun. Heilman has been mixing up his pitches and he has always been a second half pitcher.

Since his disasterous week, Billy Wagner has picked it up again and has not allowed a run in his last 7 appearances earning 6 saves. The monkeys would like to see him not a blow any key saves this weekend against the Phillies and then we'll know he's completely out of his slump.

Although it may appear that Pedro Feliciano has been pretty consistent all year, he has actually got much better as the year has gone on. He was just a bit lucky earlier in the year. Check out his monthly WHIP's below:

April: 1.71
May: 1.50
June: 1.03

Like Sanchez, Schoenweiss has had a couple of really bad outings, but he has only allowed rus in 7 of his 38 appearances. Dropping his two horrible outings, he has an ERA of 1.40 for the year. He has been immensely better than he was last season and has curtailed all the fan's booing which is no easy task.

Joe Smith is the only key cog in the bullpen that has been a little inconsistent lately. He's been effective most outings, but has been hit a bit as well lately. The Mets are wisely limiting his innings since he hit a wall around this time last year.

Overall, things are looking really good with the bullpen. Hopefully, Eddie Kunz who has 22 saves as the AA closer can help out later in the season. He has not allowed a homerun in 36.2 innings. However, he has walked 23 and struck out 33. That ratio is holding him back.


El Duque will possibly be making a rehab start next week. The monkeys are not sure where he fits in at this point, but we guess he can take the Claudio Vargas/Tony Armas Jr. swingman spot if he has anything left.