Wally Backman called it “the biggest win we’ve had all year”. Today, I went down to Cashman Field, to see our Triple-A club in action. Las Vegas was trailing 1-0 throughout the majority of today’s ballgame, their offense resembled the Mets offense, not swinging at many pitches, hit a lot of high fly balls that didn’t carry, and didn’t have a real threat until the 9th inning. Rainy Lara was not dominant today, he gave up six hits in the first two innings, which looked problematic. Lara stayed in and provided his team with quality innings. When I had the chance to interview Wally Backman, he said “it’s huge, this is a young kid that has come up from Double-A because we needed pitchers ….. he did a nice job settling in today”.
After Lara, Mets struggling farmhand Cody Satterwhite came in and provided two innings of solid relief. Satterwhite’s ERA is currently residing in the high four’s but he could be a quality September call-up, something I talked about in March. In the bottom of the ninth inning, down to their last out, the 51s manufactured a late rally using small ball, with Brooks Conrad providing a sac-fly. Unfortunately, right after the momentum swung for the 51s, it was taken back as Scott Rice gave up two earned runs, to make the score 3-1 in favor of their opponents, the Sacramento River Cats. In the bottom of the 10th inning, the 51s had a man on and Anthony Recker pinch hitting for Wilfredo Tovar. Recker hit one that would be in the second deck in Citi Field, after that, the River Cats made a few errors, and a double down the line from Brooks Conrad, scored Kirk Nieuwenhuis, to close the game at 4-3, in favor of the 51s. Backman said that “to be able to come back twice in extra innings is great”, and consistently dubbed the game the “best win all year”. He admitted that the quality pitching helped the 51s stay in the game, and that it was a well earned win.
The very strange thing is how great the 51s record is despite their roster being decimated due to Mets injuries. I asked Wally about that, and he said “it has to do with the chemistry of this team” and “sometimes you lose this one individual… for us it was Ceciliani [ and you have to bounce back].” I think that this is one of the strangest scenarios in baseball, the way this team has been decimated. Wally said “we’ve been able to maintain our veterans that surround our young prospects” and “this is not the norm, I think we have 11 guys on our opening day roster that are in the big leagues right now”. Nevertheless, Backman has kept this team well above waters, their record after today’s win is 45-32, extremely impressive for their situation.
Yesterday, after watching the Mets lose seven straight games, I decided to take a little break, and spend the day with the Brooklyn Cyclones, the short season A affiliation of our New York Mets. The Cyclones are one of four professional sports teams that have never had a season in which their record was below 500. This season the Cyclones have won four out of their first six games, and have an impressive roster filled with very young talent. The Cyclones have five players on their roster who just came out of colleges, including David Thompson, a fourth round pick from the University of Miami, who made his professional debut last night.
The Cyclones staff were all very courteous, and the stadium itself is holding up very well. MCU Park was built in 2001 as Keyspan Park; the field surface was originally grass, but was changed to artificial turf after Hurricane Sandy. I checked into the stadium at around 5pm EST, and got onto the field to take some photos at around 5:30, during which, I saw the Cyclones opponent for yesterday’s game, the Connecticut Tigers, finishing up batting practice.
Once I headed back up to the Press Box for the game, I was surprised to hear that the radio announcer Stu Johnson was doing his radio-cast directly to my left! One thing unique to Brooklyn is the presence of an outdoor press box. Yes, an outdoor press box. Since this team only plays in the Summer, it is actually pretty cool, and gives us great views of the field.
Game time was at 7pm, and the Cyclones got off to a early 3rd inning lead. Branden Kaupe, the Cyclones SS, hit a ball over the center fielders head, by the time he got to it on the warning track, Kaupe was five steps from third base. His speed ws really diminished by then and you could tell that the 5-8 Kaupe was tired. So, halfway to home plate, with the ball in the second baseman’s glove in shallow right, he retreats to third. The problem was, he was closer to home than he was third, so he almost got picked off retreating to third. While Kaupe did have a inside the park home run in the bag, he got home on a sac fly by Will Fulmer, the Cyclones 3B.
The Cyclones starter was Tyler Badamo, a Right handed hurler who played on the GCL Mets previously. He pitched 6.2 innings, with five strikeouts, giving up two earned runs in the fourth and the sixth respectively. The Cyclones offense was non-existent after Kaupe’s triple, their only chance was in the ninth inning, when right fielder Michael Bernal struck out, but got on first base thanks to a passed ball. The next batter was Zach Mathieu, who hit a slow roller to shortstop, the infielder charged hard, and barely threw Mathieu out by a stride, Bernal, the runner on first, decided to play very aggressive and swipe third, hoping the first baseman wouldn’t notice, but how would you not notice him running to third if he is right in front of your vision? That’s a immature play that all minor leaguers have. It’s a learning moment for not only Bernal, but for the Cyclones and the C-Tigers. The game promptly ended on a broken bat ground out to the pitcher by Jeff Diehl.
Buy and large the Cyclones are a promising team with players that are getting their first exposure to the “Big City”. The fact that the Mets have an affiliate in Brooklyn is great for the fans, and the players. It’s a viewers assumption that it helps relieve pressure once (and if) they get to the big leagues.
Thanks to the whole Cyclones press crew, including Billy Harner. And the nice folks I got to meet up in the Cyclones Press Box.
Daniel Murphy continues to work back from a quad injury that was sustained a few weeks ago in Arizona. This injury has delayed Murphy’s return timetable from the 15 days, to Tuesday, to this weekend, but it now looks like he is very close to returning.
Murphy played in a rehab game in Port St. Lucie with the GCL Mets. This was his first rehab at bat in a real game, though he played in a few extended Spring Training games before today. The difference between the extended spring games and the GCL games are minimal, so they should all be counted as rehab games for Daniel. Today, Murphy went 1-for-1 with a walk, before the game was called due to inclement weather. Murphy is still expected back this weekend, presumably Friday.
Michael Baron of JustMets.com opened a post-game article last night by stating “These are some very dark times for the Mets. And Terry Collins is not pleased…”. The Mets have now lost six straight contests, (all on the road), and the frustration is very open and is being expressed by people we don’t usually see get angry. Nearly 75% of the Mets official beat writers confessed that this team is spiraling out of control, and blaming someone specially for the Mets adversity.
There was even some tension between two very credible beat writers post-game, a sign that the Mets losing ways are taking a toll on everyone. So, as Matt Ehalt of the Record reported today on Twitter “Terry will hold meeting after media leaves. Will say to relax and remain positive”.
Maybe I’m just reading this the wrong way, but the theme of Terry’s message sounds air thin. A message to motivate a team falling like the Mets are has to be motivational. Saying that you can’t complain about Cuddyer and Granderson’s production is preposterous. You don’t give a person multi-million dollar contracts, get half-of-a-million results, and then not ask them to up their game, or throw in a harsh word or two. However, if they truly are doing the best that they can do, then his grievances must be aired towards the front office staff. Are they? Is Collins taking a jab at Alderson, among other front office men? Seems odd considering that just days ago we were told that Collins is safe, due to the “were all in this together” environment among Mets front office staff. But then again, these are the Mets, the leaders of contradiction.
The Mets are on the verge of dropping below 500 for the first time since April 12th. This downward spiral started when Jacob deGrom took the mound against the Yankees, and the 13-3 Mets slowly got worse. They slowly got closer and closer to 500, and tomorrow, they might have the same amount of losses and wins.
The difference with this Mets team compared to Mets teams prior is the opportunity that the Mets were presented with. The team had the best record in Major League Baseball, and had arguably the best starting pitching, and great closer, and hitting that was “one bat away” from good postseason contention. Now that the Mets have started to spiral out of control, I like see what the credible guys think about the Mets season, and who they stick the blame to.
Above is a tweet from SNY’s Robert Brender, who says the Mets are void of their top 2-3 players. Wright is defiantly there, but one injury is nothing for a team, a team should be able to bounce back from 2-3 injuries. Now, Robert says that the team is void of their top 3 players. In no specific order, here are (what I think) the Mets most important players. Familia, deGrom, Harvey, Duda, Murphy, Wright, Cuddyer, Lagares and Granderson. Note that of the above, Wright is the only one that has missed a substantial portion of the season. The injuries have all come from our bench, upper bullpen, and other areas that don’t get spotlight. The problem is the Mets roster is so thin right now. There is no one else that can come up from Triple-A. There is no veteran on the bench, or someone who you can rely on to come in and get a base hit. There was something truly un-familiar when the Blue Jays were sending up pinch-hitters whose batting averages were in the 275-300 range. In 2008, we had reliable back-ups like Damion Easley, Ramon Castro and Fernando Tatis among others, bench players that were a threat. These days, a good bench player is hitting 190 for the Mets!
There is so much frustration that the average Mets fan is enduring in a day in and day out basis. There are a lot of holes that Mets front office management has to fix, including spending. There is no way that Eric Campbell, as nice of a human being he is, is the Mets starting third baseman. The Mets give us rumors, predictions and insight that never pans out, and their credibility is starting to become very thin. The Mets need to make changes today.
This is a video from Pitch Talks Mets, which was hosted in the B.B King’s Blues Club. Follow them on Twitter @PitchTalks
As we all know, our Mets are in First Place. Just saying that in June is amazing. For some reason though, I don’t have the same excitement that I had in 2007 and 2008 when the Mets were in contention until the last day of the season. I was reading a post by Shannon Shark of MetsPolice.com, and he said that this team lacks a real “superstar”. I could argue that a healthy and productive David Wright is, but since he is no where near that, I think Shannon is right. So here is the critical question, Do the Mets need a “Superstar” that is a leader?
I think the answer is “Yes”. Prior to the 2013 season, the Mets named David Wright their team captain, for good reasons, I truly believe that his voice travels throughout the clubhouse, and his presence is very important to the team. I do not believe Matt Harvey is a leader, and if he ever will be he needs to mature. I think that we are just days away from a Nationals hot streak, and the Mets are going to be pressed to maintain the thin lead that they currently hold. I think it behooves the Mets to make a move to get a bat before the Nationals get something going. The Mets have been extremely lucky this year, and they haven’t had to face a lot of problems this year, but with Jeryus Familia in danger of going on the DL, the Mets might have to make a move soon….
The Brooklyn Cyclones return to the field tomorrow in Staten Island, it will be their first game of their 2015 campaign, and they have a lot to prove. The Cyclones have historically been one of the biggest minor league parks to play in, primarily because of it’s proximity to New York. Usually, the Mets top draft pick goes to Brooklyn; Michael Conforto went to Brooklyn last year.
So, what’s in store for the Cyclones 15th Anniversary? For one thing, a very nice alternate cap….
The Cyclones roster will include four players out of college, but not top prospect Desmond Lindsay. Here is the full roster:
Cyclones tickets are on sale NOW at BrooklynCyclones.com