Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Mets Player Retrospective - Tom Seaver 1970

Tom Seaver followed up his first Cy Young with what appeared to be a slightly disappointing campaign. At least using some of the traditional measures, he won eighteen games, but he lost twelve. His ERA jumped over half a point to a still respectable 2.82 and his WHIP inched up slightly from 1.039 to 1.077. Using some of the more modern statistics though, Seaver actually had a slightly better, or at least equal season then he did in 1969. He topped his career best 40 Runs Saved Above Average in 1969 with 43 in 1970 (with one more start) and his neutral win/loss was 20-10, just slightly below his 1969 mark of 22-10.

In addition, Seaver set a new career high for strikeouts in a season. His 283 strikeouts led the National League, and it was a full 75 better then his previous best season. He also led the league for the second straight year in ERA+ with 142 and he set current career highs in complete games (19) and innings pitched (290 2/3, which would be his best ever).

Seaver also had what could have been the best game of his career. On April 22, 1970, Tom Seaver gave up only two hits and he struck out what then tied a record 19 batters. Only Steve Carlton had achieved this total in a nine inning game. Seaver struck out ten batters in a row (the final ten), which is a record that still stands to this day.

He followed this up on May 15, 1970 with a one hit shutout in which he struck out fifteen batters. In eleven of his starts, he struck out ten or more.

Seaver finished seventh in the Cy Young despite having more strikeouts then all of them and a better WHIP then each player ahead of him except Ferguson Jenkins. He also had more RSAA (43 vs. 40) then that year's winner, Bob Gibson.

Here's a look at Tom Seaver's 1970 stats:

Wins 18
Losses 12
Games 37
Games Started 36
Complete Games 19
Innings Pitched 290 2/3
Hits 230
Runs 103
Earned Runs 91
Walks 83
Strikeouts 283
ERA 2.82
Runs Saved Above Average 43
Shutouts 2
H/9 7.12
BR/9 9.82
SO/9 8.76
BB/9 2.57
SO/BB 3.41
Neutral Wins 20
Neutral Losses 10

Ramon Castro, National Hero

Mike Piazza might be on the disabled list, but his backup, Ramon Castro, has made the most of his time as the starting catcher. Down 4-3, Castro hit a huge three run shot in the bottom of the eighth to push the Mets over the Phillies. Also give some credit to the bullpen. They pitched four shutout innings after the Phillies roughed up Seo.

With the win, four teams stand in a virtual tie with 62 losses. The Mets and Astros are technically a half game back of the Marlins and Phillies, and then right behind them are the Nationals with 63 losses. A win by the Mets tonight and a loss by the Marlins will put the Mets in first place (possibly a tie with the Astros).

There was a period of time in late July when I thought the Mets were out of it. What a comeback though, and without Mike Cameron and Mike Piazza, it makes it all that much more impressive.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Blown Opportunity

The bad news is, the Mets scored a grand total of three runs this weekend. The good news is, we actually walked away with one win. At this stage of the season, every game counts. When you play the mediocre teams like the Giants, you have to come out of that series with at least two of three. Granted, the Mets are missing two of their better hitters, but they have the talent to win.
On Friday, Steve Trachsel made his season debut and what a debut it was. He threw eight innings of two hit ball and struck out six. David Wright accounted for all of the Mets offense with a solo shot in the second. Brandon Looper got the job done with a one run save, his 27th save of the season.

Yesterday, the Mets could only garner four hits off of Jason Schmidt. Jose Reyes scored (after tripling for the fourteenth time this season) on a grounder by Kaz Matsui to account for the only run, and a solid start by Tom Glavine (six innings, four hits, two runs) went to waste.

Today was more of the same. Carlos Beltran scored on a wild pitch but that was the lone Met to cross the plate. This time it was Noah Lowry who shut us down. Kris Benson threw a good which meant nothing.

Mike Piazza returns on Thursday, so he'll catch the tail end of a very important series. Regardless of whether the Phillies win or lose tonight (they're tied 2-2 against the D-backs as we speak), they'll be in sole possession of first place for the Wild Card. Beginning Tuesday, we host those Phillies so while every game is important, this series is simply huge. We could potentially be in lead going into Friday's game (although that's unrealistic because that would mean the Marlins and Astros would both have to go on big skids) or we could be five and a half games back (with a very limited chance of making the post season). Winning two of three is a realistic goal, so that's what this Met's fan is hoping for.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Mets Roll Through Phoenix With Four Wins, Improve Playoff Chances

Not a bad start to the Mets big road trip. Four games in Phoenix, and four wins. It doesn't get much better then that. They got some great pitching and some timely hitting in this series

Tom Glavine evened his record to 10-10 in the Monday game. He yielded only five hits through eight innings of work and he struck out five. On offense, Jose Reyes and Victor Diaz both hit solo shots and Cliff Floyd drove in two runs. Brandon Looper saved his 25th game of the season.

Tuesday was the first blowout. Victor Zambrano threw eight quality innings but that was lost in the 14 run, 17 hit barrage. Juan Castro drove in five runs with his two hits and David Wright continues his impressive sophomore campaign with three hits and four runs. In all, six Mets had multihit games.

If you thought 14 runs was a lot, then you'd be even more impressed with the eighteen they scored on Wednesday. This time the Mets racked up twenty hits and four Mets had at least three hits. Jose Reyes homered, had three hits, three runs and four RBIs. Mike Jacobs was even more impressive. He homered twice, had four hits, five runs and four RBIs. David Wright had two solo homers and he scored four runs. Jae Seo had another impressive start as he gave up only seven hits and two runs in seven innings of work.

Things were a bit tighter yesterday but Pedro Martinez came to the rescue. He threw six innings of two hit ball before yielding to the pen. The Mets only managed five hits but they made them count. Victor Diaz had a solo homerun and a sacrafice fly and Cliff Floyd had two hits and a run. Brandon Looper saved his 26th game with a perfect ninth inning.

So things are looking good. We're now tied with the Marlins and the Astros at a game and a half back of the Wild Card leading Phillies. Baseball Prospectus is giving us a 39% chance of making the playoffs, which is very solid and is the best of any team outside of the current division leaders. The Giants are on deck for a three game series, so hopefully we can keep up the winning, despite not having Mike Piazza and Mike Cameron in the lineup.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Mets Blow Eight Run Lead on Saturday, Take Series Against Nationals

Talk about a roller coaster weekend. Friday we had a classic pitchers dual. Jae Seo was once again nearly unhittable as he threw eight shutout innings and gave up only four hits. All that, and he didn't have a lead until the seventh inning when Victor Diaz drove home Ramon Castro for the only run of the game. Mike Piazza was still absent after fracturing his hand. Jose Reyes went four for four with three stolen bases.

Then came Saturday. I'm so glad at times that I live out of town. I probably would have been watching this game on TV and would have destroyed that television at some point in time in the ninth inning. The Mets rushed out to an eight run lead after three innings with three big homers. Ramon Castro and David Wright hit three run shots and Jose Reyes had a two run homer. Pedro Martinez cruised through six innings, and in what was a smart move, pulled him after 78 pitches with a nice comfortable eight run lead.

Ahem. Danny Graves comes in and gives up five runs, two hits and two walks while getting only one guy out. Jose Reyes' throwing error only helped Graves out in the statistical category because four of those five runs were unearned. By the time the Nationals were done, the Mets had a two run lead.

And that disappeared in the ninth. Brandon Looper gave up a two run double in the ninth, and before you knew it, the Mets were in extra frames. I would have liked to be in Pedro's head while all of this was going down. Fortunately this story has a happy ending. In the bottom of the tenth, Chris Woodward singled home Gerald Williams, and the Mets walked away with a win. One they may not have deserved, but a win none the less.

Today, Kris Benson got shelled. He'd been as good as you'd want out from your number two guy, but he gave up six runs on eight hits before getting pulled with two outs in the first. Pinch hitter Mike Jacobs made his major league debut by hitting a three run homer and we'd score another run in the ninth, but this game was over with early. Jacobs was called up because Mike Piazza was put on the disabled list.

No Mike Cameron, and now we'll be without Piazza for at least another week and change. The news keeps getting worse. The good news is, we're only three games out of the Wild Card. We still have four teams in front of us, but we're not out of it yet. And if we can bridge that gap, the NL East title might be within reach because we only trail the Braves by six games, and they're losing to the Padres tonight.

It's also not a good time to start a west coast (sort of) swing. We travel to Arizona to play four so we'll have to contend with the heat. Then we go to Pac Bell for three. Neither of these teams are particularly good, but whenever you travel like that, it's an uphill battle.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Carlos Beltran Returns, Piazza Goes Down As Mets Take Two of Three Against Pirates

The Mets keep hanging in there. This week they took two of three from Pittsburgh, with the one loss coming against the undefeated Zach Duke. We also saw the return of Carlos Beltran, but now Mike Piazza is possibly on the shelf after leaving Tuesday's games with a broken hand.

Kris Benson started the series off on a great note. He went seven innings and gave up only seven hits and two runs to improve to 9-4. Equally as impressive is his 3.49 ERA for the season. Roberto Hernandez and Brandon Looper combined for two shutout innings and Cliff Floyd's two run shot in the eighth inning gave them plenty of insurance.

On Wednesday, Carlos Beltran was back in the lineup for the first time since his collision with Mike Cameron and Mike Piazza was out because of the broken hand. Once again, our starter really got the job done. Tom Glavine threw seven innings and gave up only one run on nine hits. David Wright and Jose Offerman both had two run singles and Beltran went one for two with two runs and a stolen base.

Yesterday we ran into Zach Duke. In all, the Mets only managed three hits and one walk. Carlos Beltran did go two for three, but he was left on base both times. Victor Zambrano threw six innings and "only" gave up one walk.

So, at the end of the day, we're now three games back for the Wild Card. We still trail four teams, but the leader is no longer Houston. Philadelphia now tops the chart. And this weekend we have a huge (although you can say at this point that every series is huge) three game series against the Nationals. Two of three is neccesary, and a sweep would push us right over the Nats.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Mets Come Up Short Against Dodgers

At this point in the season, every game counts. That's why today's almost no-hitter turning into a loss was very tough to take. As it stands, we're still there for the Wild Card, but we need to win these games.

In case you missed it, Pedro Martinez was five outs away from a no-hitter. Not only did he give up a hit to Antonio Perez, but the next hitter, Jayson Werth, took Pedro yard for the game winning run. The Mets managed ten hits, but only one crossed the plate.

Thursday was definitely the biggest disaster. If you haven't seen "The Collision" by now, you haven't watched TV since then because it was on just about every station. I ended up seeing it on CNBC of all places. Mike Cameron is on the DL and I'm afraid he's out for the season (at least) and Carlos Beltran hasn't played since then either.

All of that carried into a tough loss on Friday. The Mets were up 6-3 only to see the Dodgers tie it up and send the game into extra frames. Then in the tenth, Brandon Looper gave up the walk off homer to end the game. Victor Diaz, who was called up after Cameron went on the DL, hit two homers and drove in three runs. David Wright had two doubles and two RBIs.

Yesterday, Jae Seo did yet another Pedro impersonation by throwing a gem. Eight innings, five hits, one run and six strikeouts. Ramon Castro and Gerald Williams homered and Jose Reyes stole two bases.

The loss today puts the Mets four games back of the Astros with three teams, all from the NL East, ahead of them. They get a day off before hosting Pittsburgh. Two of three, even without a Pedro start, is a must. We have to take care of business against the bottom dwellars, especially on our home turf. The big series is this weekend when we square off against the Nationals. Hoping Beltran will be back by then and we can move up the food chain.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Carlos Beltran, Mike Cameron Collision

I just saw the highlights on CNBC. Very nasty collision, and I hope both of our guys are okay.

The Mets lost the game and the series last night. I'll report on this later today.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Jose Reyes' HItting Streak Snapped

It was a nice run, but Jose Reyes' 20 game hitting streak ended yesterday. During the stretch, he went 34 for 91 (.374) and he raised his batting average from .261 to a much more respectable .280. He scored 16 runs and stole 11 bases.

Hopefully he can start up another one tonight. The Mets need to win.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Mets Trying to Finish Sweep

It's amazing how one weekend can change your perception. I was very close to giving up on the Mets, but they're in the process of finishing a sweep of the Cubs as we speak. It's a special treat because I no longer live in the New York area and I'm getting a chance to watch my team.

Friday we saw the return of Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs lineup. Fortunately for the Mets, he went 0 for 4. Tom Glavine threw eight solid innings, but it was the bats that brought this win home. Jose Reyes set the stage by going three for five with two runs and two stolen bases. Carlos Beltran had three hits and both Mike Cameron and Cliff Floyd drove in two runs.

Yesterday, it was pitching. Jae Seo was pretty stellar. He gave up only four hits through 7 1/3 and he combined with three other relievers to notch the shutout. David Wright and Carlos Beltran drove in the only two runs of the game.

This evening, the Mets have a solid 5-0 lead through six innings. They chased Carlos Zambrano out after only three innings (80 pitches) of work and the other Zambrano is throwing a gem. Victor has a three hitter going. David Wright has three RBIs.

Assuming the Mets hang on, they'll be three games above .500 and 6 1/2 games back of the Braves. They'll still be in last place, but things are very tight with regard to the Wild Card. The Astros are still playing well, but they're not red hot like they were in July. The win tonight will put them three games back with four teams ahead of them. Three of those four teams are NL East teams.

And to make matters even worse, the Mets would be a game ahead of the division leading San Diego Padres if they played in the NL West.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hanging by a Thread

The Mets fell back to .500 today with a loss to the Brewers. Things are not looking good, but lets first take a look at what transpired this week.

While it wasn't pretty, things got off on a good note Tuesday in the series opener. The Mets were down by three runs when they had a nice three run rally in the seventh to tie it. Roberto Hernandez tried to give the game away in the ninth by giving up a solo homer, but Mike Cameron picked him up by hitting a solo shot of his own to send the game into extra frames. In the bottom of the eleventh, Mike Piazza drew a bases loaded walk (would that be a walk off walk?) to end the game. The Mets used six pitchers, and four of their relievers threw at least two innings because Victor Zambrano was knocked out of the game in the second inning.

Yesterday, the Brewers turned the table. This time we had a 4-2 lead courtesy of some solid pitching by Pedro Martinez. While he wasn't perfect, he held the Brewers to three runs through seven innings and he struck out eight.

The pen was also less then perfect, and it cost the Mets the game. Once again, Roberto Hernandez gave up a run as the Brewers tied it, and then in the top of the ninth, Brandon Looper gave up two runs and suffered his fifth loss of the season. Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 16 games by getting a single in the bottom of the ninth and Cliff Floyd hit his 25th homer of the season.

Today's game was tough to take. Very tough to take. The Mets entered the ninth with a 9-7 lead when the Brewers busted the game open with five runs in the ninth. Once again it was Roberto Hernendaz. In the three games he pitched in, he lost one and blew another save.

Mike Piazza had a huge game. He homered and drove in five runs. Carlos Beltran hit his 13th homers, and Mike Cameron hit his 12th. Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 17 games.

The Braves look like they're going to win tonight, so the Mets are down by 8 1/2 games. At this point, I think winning the division is a tad unrealistic. They're 5 1/2 games back of the Astros for the Wild Card with the Astros still having to play tonight. This weekend we square off with the Cubs, who are right there in the middle of the chase for the Wild Card. We need to win at least two of three. If the Mets lose another series and the Astros win another, I think our goose is cooked.

Tom Seaver Wins 300th Game

Exactly 20 years ago to the day, Tom Seaver won his 300th win while playing for the Chicago White Sox. Seaver won the game at Yankees Stadium against the Yankees.