Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cat Scratch Fever - Seder Edition

Anderson Hernandez - what chutzpah!!! Metropolitans' 2nd baseman Anderson Hernandez, excuse me, our boy Anderson Hernandez, stood in there, taking a high slide from a Washington Nationals player who will probably be out of baseball by the end of the year to turn a double play. Hernandez then looked at Mr. Highslide, shouting, "I don't care whose cousin you are. Who you know. Whose **** you're ******* **, you are going out!" Don't worry bout hitting, mang, Petey and Wags got it from here.

Let me talk about the Metsies briefly, very briefly, since I'm shomer shabbos.
Jose, what a joy you are to watch! Paulie LoDuca, the most fundamentally sound player in the majors. Carlos, right now the best all around player in the show. No one else is sucking the will out of the competition with all 6 tools like Beltran. Carlos Dos, pitchers shouldn't be left alone with him out there. It's not fair. (Son of) David Wright, peace be upon him, stay healthy and you're the next Michael Jack Schmidt - without the Freddie Mercury moustache. Clifford, chasing the Phillistines away with monstrous grounders to second base. Xavier, wonderful, just wonderful. Greatest athlete named Xavier in New York since Xavier McDaniel held Scottie Pippen to 4 points in game 6 of the 1993 Eastern Conference finals. (Charles Smith, hit a freakin' layup. Oy vey!)

And Pedro. What other team's ace can do 12 innings of baseball all year and shut a team down like that. Pitching with the wisdom of Solomon - or maybe Golda Meir! As the rapper Baby of the Cash Money Millionaires once said about the albino alligator that lives on his property, "That's the alligator swimmin right over there! He a gangsta!"

As for the light Natties, I'm just feelin bad. How many years without an owner? You'd never see that in the NFL, probably because there's a competent commish on the prowl there. That's exactly what beisbol needs, Tony Scali finding a new DC owner while searching for a late night snack in a pile of pepperoni.

Word on the street is that Marine One flew over RFK, George Bush Junior Junior clearly flying out of his way to avoid a Vietnam era draft board. Johnny Damon could be riding the T around Boston right now and have a higher approval rating than this cat.

And you tell Mike Francessa that I turn up Enter Sandman on my iPod every morning as I step out of the subway on the way to work. And there's nothing he can do about it. Shalom, fatty.


Happy recap

Vintage performances from both Pedro and (finally) Billy Wagner ensure the Metropolitans go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon in the nation's capital.

Our Darling Dominican's line tonight was identical to Banny's yesterday: 7 IP, 3 H and 1 ER, and on only 85 pitches...not too shabby.

And credit must be given to the Nats, who didn't plunk any of our batters. Both teams came to play baseball tonight, and it was quite the game.

What poise from our ace. Bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the sixth and he handled it with aplomb, cooly getting a K before Reyes and Hernandez turned the double play of the young season. I see Kaz Matsui riding a lot of pine in the future...

The Mets did enough to win the game on offense, and while they stranded eight runners, two were in scoring position with Pedro at the plate. Beltran, Delgado, and Wright all had two hits apiece, the latter of the three legging out a triple to centerfield on a two-strike count; he really is the finest two-strike hitter since Wade Boggs.

Wagner came in and his first pitch was 97 mph, and he later reached 99 mph in his first throw to Soriano. Encouraging, to say the least, especially given that the sole hit he gave up in the inning was a ball that wasn't hit hard at all.

Let's dust those brooms off, gang!

BBPOTS Player of the Game: Pedro Martinez

Put the naughty on them, Pedro

Seen here is Jose Guillen, a career .275 hitter who led the league last season in HBPs, charging Pedro last Thursday after getting hit for the second time in the game.

How has this perennial plate-crowder getting hit by Pedro even become an issue? I was at Thursday’s game, and several Metropolitans were spared HBPs only by their batter’s box acrobatics. In one at-bat David Wright had to bail out on three straight inside pitches.

Pedro had control issues all night, and threw fastballs almost exclusively because of his lack of spring training innings and the cold weather. So please, Nationals, can you get over it?

Furthermore, why exactly would Pedro throw at Jose Guillen? Did this journeyman outfielder all of a sudden become Willie Mays overnight?

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney says there is a “reasonable chance that something will happen tonight”:

The volatile Guillen has all but said he will fight if Martinez hits him again. And Martinez has never been the type of guy who backs down, and he will continue to pitch inside. That's the way he has always pitched, and the way he will always pitch.

Even if something accidental happens -- Pedro bends a slow curve off Guillen's knee, or a fastball aimed at the outside corner drifts into Guillen's front shoulder -- Guillen has done so much talking that he might actually feel obligated to charge the mound. Within the culture of the clubhouse, he will lose face if he gets drilled today and does nothing.

That’s great. Only seven games into the season and the chump Nationals, who failed to sell out on OPENING DAY, have given up the ghost and are resorting to the immature posturing we normally see coming out of the Bronx. For shame.


Wednesday's talking points memo

It's College Night at Robert F. Kennedy stadium tonight, and we all know what that means: a blitzed Scott McClellan roaming through the upper deck offering to "give his latest release" to random sorority girls.

More importantly, though, it also means Pedro will take the mound for the Metropolitans in front of thousands of inebriated twenty-somethings, which will hopefully only ensure more antics on his part.

Throughout yesterday's game the Nats broadcasters were urging people to come out tonight and "not vote for Pedro," but something tells me there will be a huge Dominican contingent cheering their equatorial hearts out for the guy. Home and away, he puts butts in the seats.

Starting for the Nattys will be Tony Armas, who was a hard-luck loser in his only start this year, with 2 ER in 5 IP in Houston Friday. Over the past three seasons Armas has a 2.88 ERA in April that only goes downhill as the season goes on, and has an ERA vs. the Metsies of 4.96. I'm sure Pedro will appreciate all the run support we can give him.

Which leads to our next question: which Pedro will show up at the game tonight? The erratic, almost exclusively fastball-throwing Pedro who struggled through six last Thursday but still gutted out a W? Or the bubbly, pinpoint control Pedro we all came to know and love last season?

With minimal innings in spring training, Pedro is clearly going to need at least a couple more starts even to come close to his best pitching, but what was so impressive about last week's debut was how well he did on a night when he was the first to say he didn't have it. Despite his antics, he'll do everything he can to keep us in the game, and we couldn't really ask for anything more. Except maybe a return of Nelson de la Rosa, aka "The Midget."

In all honestly, I know the blog's only three days old, but I'm surprised it's taken us this long to bring up the midget. I have a hilarious video of him dancing on some Dominican variety show, and if you're interested in seeing it, IM or e-mail me and I'll send it to you.

But let's not get off topic. Today's unbridledly optimistic win total prediction is 116.

Cat Scratch Fever - Tuesday Night

Actually, it's Wednesday morning. But where to start? Mayor Bloomberg's Darlings had another impressive win today, their first in one game on the road this year.

There's not much to nitpick about. Carlos Beltan is three words: impact, impact, impact. Jose Reyes is a forest fire. And David Wright, praise be upon him, is being David Wright.
I'm usually a big fan of Newsday's Metropolitans coverage. Not today. Decent feature on Wright, except for the headline "An Emerging Star." Right. Emerging. Emerging in the same way I suppose that Kobe Bryant might be a good basketball player if he works at it a little more. By the end of this year, David Wright will be the most valuable player on either New York team when you consider he may have about 17 years left in him after this one. He'll also be the most marketable. And if he hits about .200 in October, he'll also be the best third baseman in the clutch wearing an interlocking NY on his uniform.

RFK Stadium evokes the word "cavernous" more than anything not associated with spelunking or miner's helmets.

And really, who invited Dick Cheney? Now I'll be struggling to work the phrase "last throws" into a baseball reference for weeks.

Addendum: If you live in the greater New York area, you've noticed that the Empire State Building has been lit gold and white the past few days. That's in honor of the 2006 World Champion and AFC Wild Card Winner Pittsburgh Steelers. The only professional sports franchise with a better theme song than the New York Mets.


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