Tag:New York Mets
Posted on: April 6, 2010 10:58 am
Edited on: April 6, 2010 11:01 am
 

Monday Recovery - Day in Front of the TV

After having a horrendous Sunday night, I was ecstatic to find an entire afternoon of relavent baseball on ESPN and then of course the NCAA men's basketball championship on CBS. But we have to work on that 9:30 PM EST start time guys. That game should be on at 8 PM so I can get to bed at a decent hour.

Anyway, so I was really looking forward to looking at something other than the McNabb trade. So aside from avoiding ESPN and the internet like the plauge for about 5 hours, I was looking forward to the first good Monday of the spring. There was nice weather, baseball was beginning and I would get to start taking my anger out on the Mets AND Phillies, a team after two years of nuetrality have ended up on my hit list. And the McNabb trade had a small part to do with it. Back-to-back world series appearances had a large part to do with it.

1 PM - Marlins-Mets and Phils-Nats on for the early games in the NL East. Very excited to see the Mets-Fins game. The pesky Marlins return from a good season, just signed their ace Josh Johnson long term facing the walking time bomb Mets already fighting the injury bug. Naturally, David Wright hits a two-run homer in the 1st. Notice that the '99 NCAA Final (UConn 77 - Duke 74) is on ESPN Classic. I hope this is an omen of things to come. Then I get a text from my buddy to meet up with him at our local sports watering hole.

2 PM - Stay thirsty my friends. Drink responsibly. Watching the middle innings with my buddy, his younger brother and his dad who is in between shifts at work, all Mets fans and NY Football Giants fans as well. "Hey, you here the Eagles made a trade?"/"Nope, not a word." With friends like these, eh? The talk turns to Jeff Francoeur and his new ability to take pitches. Really, Jeff? Why couldn't you do this in Atlanta? Frenchy even drew a walk in the 4th. Later, I start bashing Mets GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel for changing the Mets rotation last week and the bright idea of batting Mike Jacobs (0-for-4) cleanup over Jason Bay (2-for-4, R). Also, I didn't avoid ESPN and my buddy and I cackle like Gus Johnson when we mention John Buccigross on SportsCenter wanting to have the Yanks/Isles organist play "Brass Bonanza." If you don't know what that is, look it up or get strange looks from Connecticut residents for the rest of your like.

3 PM - The Marlins start throwing the ball all over the infield. Josh Johnson didn't have his best outing, 5 IP, 99 PC, 4 ER, 5 H, 4 BB 3 K and the loss. Johan Santana threw a ton of pitches (103 in 6 IP) but had a pretty good day otherwise only giving up one run and scattering four hits. With the game well in hand, we see highlights of Albert Pujols homering twice and the Phillies dismantling the Nats. So much for my theory that the Nats could be kinda good this year.

4 PM - Mets bullpen looks sharp (yeah, you heard me right) as Nieve and K-Rod go three combined shutout innings with Nieve recording 2 K's in 2 IP. Braves game starts, and I don't even ask our bartender to put on the Braves, he's way ahead of that idea with ESPN and ESPN2 on multiple TVs. Derek Lowe gives up a 3-R HR in the 1st. Great, round of laughter at the Braves fan. Mets clinch the win, Braves come roaring back with 6 runs in the bottom half including Jason Heyward's first MLB homer.

5 PM - Braves running away with the game against the Cubbies. Carlos Zambrano didn't make it out of the second. Derek Lowe gives up another homer (8-5 Braves after 3) but settles down and goes 6 IP with 5 ER but only 78 pitches as the Braves open the game wide open in the 7th with another 6-spot on the Cubs bullpen. Kudos to Sean Marshall who was the only pitcher for the Cubs to show up when the games was competitive.

6 PM - Brave bullpen shuts down the Cubs as the offense gives slugging. Moylan, Saito, Wagner - 3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB 5 K. Me like. Game over, Moylan nails Heyward with his first shaving cream towel pie to the face. Yunel Escobar tries to show him up with a 5 RBIs giving the 6th and 7th hitters in the Braves order with 4-for-10, 4 R, 9 RBI day.

7 PM - Other MLB highlights, Mark Buehrle's five-hole, no-look flip to first, which is caught barehanded by Paul Konerko. Play of the Year on Opening Day. No one is topping that. Other lowlights in umpiring - Nate McCloth's dropped flyball to double play. Laz Diaz out of position (from firstbase) missing a play at second in the Mets game.

8 PM - Waiting for the Duke-Butler game.

9 PM - Complaining that the Duke-Butler game doesn't start at a reasonable hour on the East Coast. Can't even use a west coast team as an excuse. Duke out to an early lead but they Butler starts trading baskets and leads and ties. Fantastic first half. I'll say it again, I hate Duke. But for the first time in recent memory, they have a legit center (Zoubek) who can rebound on both ends. Butler trails by 1 at the half. Favorite play, Butler's Zach Hahn pulling up from 30 for no reason and burying a three.

10 PM - Still trading baskets. Strange game for the officials. They let 'em play under the hoop but called a lot of stuff away from the ball and on the perimiter. I say that if Butler keeps Duke around 60 points they have a chance. Kyle Singler with a huge shooting edge over Gordon Hayward, 7-13 and 2-12 respectively from the field but Hayward was 8-8 from the line. Difference in the game to this point. Huge day for Avery Jukes off the bench for Bulter.

11 PM - Duke trying to hold off a late Butler surge. Butler down one, with the ball, inbounding out of the corner (which I mentioned was a tough place to inbound 15 seconds before the CBS guys). Hayward takes a tough fade-away, off the iron. Zoubek rebounds and hits one FT, misses the 2nd on purpose (strange strategy by Coach K, since a three can beat you, and that's what Butler will take from halfcourt...). Hayward grabs the rebound of the miss, held up by Zoubek, chased by Singler (who did Greg Paulus proud by running into a screen and reacting like he got shot. Sorry, I have me mention this because I hate Duke), and Hayward misses a running halfcourt three, which came a lot closer than those shots normally do. Duke wins their 4th title. Butler made them earn it in front of 70,000 fans, 90 percent of which were rooting against the Blue Devils. Damn it all.

One last note. (Disclaimer: Gambling is illegal and should be done responsibly.) My dad randomly drew Butler out of a hat in a suicide Sweet 16 pool. Rules as follows, one randomly drawn team going against the spread. Since Butler was getting 7 in my Dad's pool, he ended up winning. I asked him if the $100 was worth it since Duke won.

"Nope. But it makes up for the crappy brackets we entered. And we can no longer say that Duke has never done anything good for us."

So true. Kudos to Bulter for winning our hearts over teh last three weeks. Kudos to the Dukies for winning another title. Kudos to both for one of the most memorable and well-played title games in recent memory. And Kudos to my buddy for only mentioning the McNabb trade 19 times and not 20.

And now we'll see if the UConn-Stanford Women's title will be just as good tonight.

(Naaaah.)
Posted on: March 3, 2010 10:52 am
Edited on: March 3, 2010 1:04 pm
 

Atlanta Braves Preview and NL East Outlook

Here is my full Atlanta Braves preview. For the rest of the NL East teams, here's my previous entry.

Atlanta Braves (2009 – 3rd place; 86-76 record)

2009 Recap
– The Braves were in the wild card running until the final week until the Rockies clinched the spot. A four-game sweep by the Nationals to end the season regulated the Braves to 3rd place in the NL East. The Braves started off slowly, especially offensively, but picked up late in the year during their wild card push in August and September. Their center field problem, aka Jordan Schafer, was solved thanks to a mid-season move to get Nate McClouth from the Pirates. Martin Prado was a huge surprise for Atlanta, with his play earning the starting 2B job over Kelly Johnson and his bat keying the Braves 2<sup>nd</sup> half run. Brian McCann and Chipper Jones anchor the Braves batting order and Derek Lowe leads a formidable pitching staff.

Projected Rotation – Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Kenshin Kawakami, Kris Medlen

Projected Bullpen – Closer, Billy Wagner; Set-up, Saito; Medlen, Peter Moylan, Eric O’Flaherty

Projected Lineup/Batting Order – [1/CF] Nate McLouth, [2/SS] Yunel Escobar, [3/3B] Chipper Jones, [4/C] Brian McCann, [5/2B] Martin Prado, [6/1B] Troy Glaus / Eric Hinske, [7 & 8/OF] Melky Cabrera, Matt Diaz, Jason Heyward

Projected Bench – C David Ross, IF Omar Infante, F Gregor Blanco

Best off-season move – First Base –Troy Glaus / Eric Hinske – While the Braves could have signed Adam LaRoche to a deal, they decided to make a couple of value moves and bring some utility depth to their roster. Glaus plays third base as well and can spell Chipper and Hinske can also take some days in the outfield.

Worst off-season move – Javier Vazquez – I didn’t have a problem with the trade itself, but if Melky Cabrera isn’t starting for the Braves somewhere in the outfield then this was a terrible trade for the Braves. I know the Braves had a surplus of starters last year, but if Javy is in the Braves rotation and Medlen and Kawakami are in the bullpen for long relief, is anyone complaining about a Lowe-Vazquez-Jurrjens-Hudson-Hanson
rotation? I don’t think so.

Move that needs to pan out – Closer. If Billy Wagner pitches like he did to end last season, then this could be an improvement over the Soriano/Gonzalez platoon of seasons past. If it doesn’t work out then the Braves could be in for a long season of heartburn and indigestion in the late innings.

Player to Watch – OF Jason Heyward – How could it not be him? I already want to nickname him the “The Junkyard Dog” after reading about his batting practice sessions during spring training. Everywhere I hear about this kid I only hear positive things and that he is worth the hype. This means I expect a long contract extension for him when Chipper retires.

They’ll make the playoffs if…everything comes together. The Braves as an organization have been on the outside looking in at the playoffs. But in recent years it seems that the Braves have just been missing one thing or one injury breaks their season. This year the Braves seem to be set up to make a run at the playoffs and the Phillies for the NL East title.

NL EAST OUTLOOK

Projected Wins
– Phillies (90-95), Braves (85-90), Marlins (80-85), Mets (75-80), Nationals (65-70)

I expect the Phillies to remain the class of the division. Atlanta and Florida will be in the hunt for the Wild Card. I think the Mets will take a step forward, but they don't have enough pitching to make a playoff run. I think the Nationals will be improved but are still a couple of years away from contending.

NL East Pitcher of the Year – Phillies Roy Halladay – I know, it's a layup, but still, how can you pick against him? He's dominated the AL forever and now he's facing NL lineups that are considerably weaker.

NL East Player of the Year – Braves Brian McCann – Last year he started slow after having vision problems. This year I expect him to start strong and hit cleanup in a fully protected and deep lineup in Atlanta.

NL East Rookies of the Year – Braves Heyward / Nationals Strasburg – There's so much hype behind these two guys, all they have to do is contribute to win these awards in the National League, barring another rookie somewhere having a career year.

ODDS

Phillies World Series Berth (10-1) – I don't think they'll three-peat in the NL. Teams exposed their bullpen flaws last year and there's only so long that offense can carry this team.

NL East Wild Card Berth (5-1) – Between the Braves, Marlins and even the sleeper Mets, the NL East has a great chance to have a team win the wild card. Assuming the division doesn't completely tear each other up, which I'm sure will happen.

Nationals .500 division record (50-1) – I'd take this bet. Last year the Nationals were just awful but usually they play the division tough. At the very least, they'll be much improved against the NL East from last year.

Braves O/U 150 HRs in 2010 – They only hit 149 as a team last year (much less if you take away the one McLouth and LaRoche hit with other teams). So can this year's team put together some power numbers?

Well, that's all folks. As always the comments are appreciated. I'll be back with the baseball in-between March Madness and conference tourneys and of course for April and the start of the regular season. Again, here's the link to my previous entry and the rest of my NL East team previews. Thanks for reading everyone.

Posted on: March 3, 2010 10:19 am
Edited on: March 3, 2010 11:54 am
 

NL East Team-by-Team Previews

Okay, I fibbed a little with my title. I’m saving my full blown Atlanta Braves preview for my next entry, which will be up as soon as I format it. My Atlanta preview will also have my NL East outlook where I may or may not predict things that will definitely end up being wrong.

 I’m trying to get the NL East Preview before March Madness begins because I’m going to forget about baseball for three weeks. Plus I’m going to have Metro Atlantic (MAAC) and Big East conference tournament entries for basically the next week and a half starting Thursday.

Basically I split my huge, amazing and epic NL East preview into two parts, covering the Phils, Fins, Mess and Nats now and the Bravos later with my NL East Outlook/Predictions. So, here are the other four teams in the NL East and how their seasons are shaping up for 2010.

Philadelphia Phillies (2009 – 1st place; 93-69 record)

2009 Recap – The Phillies made a valiant defense of their 2008 World Series title by losing to the NY Yankees in the 2009 version. Not much has changed for this team which is very close to establishing a mini-NL dynasty with their play.

Best off-season move – P Roy Halladay – Any time you can get the best pitcher in baseball, that’s a good thing. Yes, they had to give up Cliff Lee and other pieces to make the trade, but a Halladay-Hamels combo at the top of your rotation isn’t a bad thing. Honorable mention to 3B Placido Polanco.

Player to watch – P Cole Hamels – Hamels had a poor 2009 campaign after leading Philly to the World Series as the ace of the staff. Now he’s the No. 2 starter looking to regain his top form from two years ago. The Phillies bats were able to carry them last year, but if Hamels struggles again it doesn’t bode well for the Fightin’ Phils.

They’ll win the NL East if…their bullpen doesn’t implode. I know the Phillies rotation and batting lineups will probably be solid all year. The one question on this team will always be the bullpen. Can Brad Lidge (recovering from off-season surgery) reclaim his 2008 championship form or will he and the Phillies pen struggle? If that happens, that could blow enough games to either cause the Phils to miss the playoffs or lose a playoff series in October.

Florida Marlins (2009 – 2nd place; 87-75 record)

2009 Recap – The Marlins stayed in Wild Card contention for most of the season, rallying past the Braves in the final week of the season to finish 2<sup>nd</sup> in the NL East. This is a young team that I personally thought would go away at some point, but they never did and the same team is pretty much back for 2010.

Best Off-season move – Locking up P Josh Johnson long-term. Florida doesn’t give out a ton of big contracts, but signing their ace starter is huge. Johnson (15-5, 3.23 ERA in ’09) signed a 4-year, $39 million extension to keep playing in South Florida.

Player to Watch – 2B Dan Uggla – Trade rumors swirled around him all off-season, but Uggla is back with Florida after a disappointing 2009 season for him. His HR and RBI numbers were fine, but only hit .243 for the season and a paltry .225 with RISP. Look for him to turn it around in 2010.

They’ll make the playoffs if…continue to play well beyond their years. This is a staggeringly young team that most felt overachieved last year. But there’s a lot of talent there as well, both in the batting order and the rotation. If the pitching staff has a solid year across the board, the Marlins should be right in the thick of it again in September.

New York Mets (2009 – 4th place; 70-92 record)

2009 Recap – Last season was pretty much a debacle for the Mets as injuries hampered this team all year. The Mets weren’t able to fill the gaps with their major league or minor league farm talent, leading to a very disappointing 2009 campaign.

Best Off-season move – OF Jason Bay – Bay offers the Mets a little more power out of a team that struggled to hit homers last season in general. With Bay hitting in the middle of a healthy lineup with David Wright and Carlos Beltran, the Mets have the line up to contend in the East.

Player to Watch – 1B Daniel Murphy – If this kid can start swinging the bat a little, it could be a difference maker for this team. The Mets struggled offensively all season, much of that due to injuries and constant lineup shuffling and some consistency from their former prospect with the bat would be a welcome change of pace.  Just don’t put him in the outfield and I think he could have a decent all-around season.

They’ll make the playoffs if…they can pitch the ball. After Johan Santana, the Mets are less than impressive in their rotation with Pelfrey, Maine, Perez and Nieve. They’ll need consistent outings from the back of the rotation especially and probably great years from Pelfrey and Maine. There are a lot of question marks surrounding this team but also a lot of players looking to prove the doubters wrong.

Washington Nationals (2009 – 5th place; 59-103 record)

2009 Recap – Yikes, the Natinals (intentional typo) were about as bad as you can be, bring up the rear in all of MLB last year. But that means the No. 1 overall pick (more on him in a second) and a Nationals begin a new season with a 0-0 record.

Best Off-season move – C Ivan Rodriguez – Why? Because I’m assuming they brought in I-Rod to help out this guy…

Player to watch – P Stephen Strasburg – Rumor has it that he’ll start the season in the minor leagues. Not a bad idea given the Nationals first month of games (6 games out of 9 with Philly to start the year). Either way, he’ll be pitching in the majors early in the season and can establish himself very quickly for a team that desperately needs to find a positive direction.

They’ll make the playoffs if…Strasburg channels his inner Cy Young and pitches every day. Probably won’t happen but the Nats are always feisty, and the rest of the division knows that taking two out of three in DC won’t be as easy as it was last year.

For my Atlanta Braves preview and a quick glance at the NL East in 2010, click here.
Posted on: June 17, 2008 4:05 pm
 

The New York Mess

Some of you reading this title would thing that this is just a Braves fan hating on the New York Mets. And considering that this is a nickname that I coined for the Mets a while ago, you normally would be right. But not today, today we're talking about BOTH New York teams and their incompetent front offices.


Let's start with the Mets, firing Willie Randolph last night at 3 AM (Eastern) after wining the first game of a series with the Angels in California. Not only did the Mets wait too long after this story first got rolling a few weeks ago, they couldn't have done it at a worse time. After a win, in the middle of the night, on the road. Really? I don't know who to hate more. Do I blame the GM or the owners? Why did they wait so long? Do they know what this is going to do to the Mets, that just got back to a game under .500 last night? This entire situation was handled about as worse as it could have been. And I think they made the wrong decision. I like Willie Randolph as a manager. So his personality isn't fiery enough for the fans, who cares. The fans (and probably the front office too) wanted a scapegoat for the team underachieving this season and for the collapse last September. If you we're going to fire Randolph, it should have been during the off-season, not right now. This isn't going to help any. Now I have another reason to hate the Mets, besides the fact that they're rivals with my Braves, their front office is now classless. Way to go guys.

Ah, you Yankees thought you were getting off easy. We'll I haven't forgotten about you and more importantly your brilliant family of ownership. Yes, Hank Steinbrenner is at it again. I've always thought the whole family was a little off, but this takes the cake. Apparently, Hank thinks the DH rule was incorporated in the 1800s. Instead of the 1970's. I understand that C-M Wang is on the shelf until September with a injury from running the bases in an NL park, and he was upset. But if your going to say something as a representative of the Yankees, please say something intelligent. Not to mention they botched the Joe Torre thing last year as well in my opinion.

Now, I dislike both of these organizations more because of the fact that they are rivals of Atlanta and spend a lot of money (without much recent success). The Yankees arrogance of the late 90s is gone, they're no longer unbeatable and are a disaster right now. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but I think so. The Mets were up and coming the last few years and I hope they crash and burn because of this debacle. It's nothing less than they deserve after what they did to Willie Randolph.

See what you've done New York? Not only am I angry, I had to post blog entries on back-to-back days. Now your making me try hard to make a blog that few people read anyway.

-Eagle
Posted on: May 13, 2008 10:29 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2008 2:17 pm
 

Achieving Greatness - Story of a Superstar

This is a post I've been meaning to get around to. Last year during the baseball post-season, my college roommate and I we're trying to get our CBS profiles up to Superstar level to post on the post-season GameCenter glogs. My roommate is an Indians fan and was posting on numerous game threads to get his rating up. I wasn't as interested for that postseason and was already deep into my fantasy football league on CBS. After the Indians got bounced by the Red Sox (because my roommate started running his mouth off) all the two of had to show for our efforts were two profiles with All-Star rankings in the high-eighties. I let my profile slack off a bit, but after my fantasy league ended, my second place finish sky-rocketed my "Skills" rating, giving me a 94 rating overall. Now, I have no idea how the CBS profile rating works, nor do I care, but my roommate and I had a bit of a race going. There was no prize, merely bragging rights within our little dorm room in NJ. Some time in the past couple of months, CBS blessed my efforts with a "Superstar" ranking allowing me to (finally!) post on the Glogs. Now, that's how I spend my nights, watching the GameCenter or if I'm lucky the Braves on TV, usually SNY or Comcast for the Mets and Phillies but occasionally on ESPN or TBS for national game. Glogging a game without audio or video is actually hard, because I tend to miss big defensive plays and have to wait for substitutions and whatnot. Also, GameCenter tends to hate me (and by that I mean my computer sucks), and lags or fixes a mistake on a weird play after I've posted on the glog, making me look like an idiot. Which I am, but that isn't the point. The point is, I beat my roommate to greatness and am now reaping the benefits. And I love it.

And you still suck Norm.

Authors Note 5/16 - Cracked CBS Top 1000. Again no idea how. It's still cool though.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com