baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Monday, May 24, 2010


They are only three games into the dangerous six game stretch against the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, but the Mets have already won as many games as I expected, after finally taking a rubber game in their series win against their New York rivals.

Somehow the team's weakness became their strength, at least for a few games, and the starting pitching led the way. The offense was surprisingly good, getting two out hits and power where they had been lacking earlier in the season.

The Mets are basically a .500 team that is not as far from being a playoff contender as I thought. They have a bad record in one-run games, which can be a sign of bad luck or, in my opinion, a sign of the lack of clutch hitting, pitching, fielding, and base running, otherwise known as good baseball instinct. Unfortunately, it's not something that can be taught, but it can be scouted and acquired. In other words, to those people who question why Alex Cora is still on the team, it's because he (usually) demonstrates excellent baseball instinct, being in the right place at the right time, and making the winning play, his terrible throw to Jose Reyes against the Yankees notwithstanding.

The things that are working right now: they have at least two reliable starters in Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey, and maybe another one in my favorite, Hisanori Takahashi. Once Jon Niese returns, the Mets rotation could be good enough to lift the team in the standings a bit. I believe that the only way to move forward is to abandon the John Maine/Oliver Perez restoration project and trade or release both of them. It's time to develop one or two more starters from the minors, such as Dillon Gee and (please) Jenrry Mejia.

The offense seems to be rounding into shape a bit, and will be helped by the return of Daniel Murphy as a utility player and possible second baseman in a few weeks. Luis Castillo's foot is hurting at a bad time, as he is very replaceable. Alex Cora offers a good alternative to Castillo, and I think the Mets have a slightly better chance to win with Cora at second than Castillo, because of his better range and better instinct.

The weak areas right now: the bullpen has been weakened by Takahashi moving to the rotation, and it is time to send Jenrry Mejia to the minors to resume his development as a starter. Some sports writers have used the term "convert" to a starter for Mejia, which is silly since he's been a starter his whole career except for a few weeks this year. Stretching him out won't take that long, but improving his secondary pitches might take a bit longer.

The good news is that Ryota Igarishi is back (shaky in his first game), and should resume his excellent pitching soon. And although Raul Valdes would probably be an effective starter, the team is better off keeping him as the long man/utility man in the bullpen, and calling up Gee to take the fifth spot in the rotation.

Changes I would like to see: Chris Carter needs to start in RF at least 2-3 times a week, at least until Jeff Francoeur gets his groove back. I would even consider something of a platoon with them, using Francoeur as a defensive replacement when the team is winning late, and starting him against lefties.

There are at least two center fielders available in Willy Taveras and Jonathan Van Every. I would sign one or both to minor league contracts and use one to replace Gary Matthews, Jr. as soon as possible. Taveras at least offers one better than average skill in his excellent speed. Matthews is not good at anything, unfortunately, and the team would be better off without him.

Caroms Off the Wall

Very sorry to hear about the passing of Jose Lima. He was a colorful character and good for the game. RIP, Jose.

© Judy Kamilhor 2010


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