Archive for the ‘Jeff Francoeur’ Category

Favorites & Frustrations

August 4, 2010

The game of baseball provides numerous opportunities (162 to be exact) to observe your favorite team in action.

As many of you can relate, you tend to pick up on a thing or two that you love about your team, and a thing or two that drives you crazy.

I took the time to think of a few of our favorite things to see while watching the Mets, along with some of the must frustrating things. Here are a few in no particular order:

FAVORITES

* The Jose Reyes Triple.
* SNY’s Gary Cohen’s home run call “It’s outta here!”
* The Jeff Francoeur muskrat look when he hits a home run.
* Getting to call Henry Blanco “Hank White” (it never gets old).
* Watching Angel Pagan run the bases (a frustration in 2009).
* David Wright driving the ball to the opposite field.
* David Wright driving the ball into the left field stands.
* The Jerry Manuel clap when he argues with an umpire (I have no idea why, but I love it when he does that)
* Johan Santana telling Jerry Manuel to go back to the dugout (I know this only happened once this season, but it was so great that it made the list).
* Ike Davis flying over the first base dugout railing as he catches a foul ball.
* Anytime Chris Carter gets an at bat. You get to say “The Animal”.

FRUSTRATIONS

* Stretches when Jerry Manuel thinks the only reliever in the bullpen is Raul Valdes
* Oliver Perez warming up in the bullpen.
* The Jose Reyes pop up.
* Jeff Francouer swinging at the first pitch.
* The Jeff Francouer muskrat look when he pops up.
* Mike Pelfrey licking his fingers.
* Jason Bay flailing at an outside breaking ball.
* A Jerry Manuel visit to the mound.
* Another Jerry Manuel visit to the mound.
* The Luis Castillo slap chopper.
* Francisco Rodriguez insisting on putting at least two men on base during every appearance (mysteriously absent last night…).
* Giving up another home run to Chipper Jones or Pat Burrell

Hold Your Horses On The Carlos Beltran Talk

June 23, 2010

How much playing time will Angel Pagan get now that Beltran is back?

Should Beltran play in right leaving Francoeur the odd man out?

Jason Bay isn’t hitting for power so he should become the fourth outfielder?

Shouldn’t the Mets trade one of their outfielders for a starting pitcher?

Whoa people, slow down a little bit.

The news that Carlos Beltran will start his rehab assignment on Thursday has kicked off a great deal of speculation about playing time in the Mets’ outfield.

Although I think this is great news, I’m not ready to discuss the playing time topic yet.

Neither should you.

You see, there is still a long road to go before we see Beltran roaming center field at Citi Field.

Carlos has a number of steps he has to go through before he gets called up.  It is not impossible for there to be a set back during anyone of these steps. Keep in mind he still runs with a limp.

Mets’ officials tell us it’s because of his knee brace.  Truthfully, I am not sure if I buy that line one hundred percent.

First, Beltran has to test his knee during game situations for a while.

Don’t fool yourself if you think the extended spring training games were going to satisfy this step.  They served as a very controlled way to keep him active until he was ready for a minor-league assignment.

Once Carlos demonstrates his knee can handle real game situations, he will have to establish the fact that he can play day-to-day for an extended period of time.

This step should take several weeks in my opinion.  The worst thing the Mets can do is rush his return.

We saw what happened with Jose Reyes in terms of trying to get his feet underneath him while playing in major league games.  The Mets are contending for the pennant and control their own destiny.  They can ill afford Beltran “rehabbing” with the big league club.

It has been made very clear that Carlos will be playing center-filed when he returns.  So demonstrating he is ready means he has to show he can track down balls in the gap as well as Pagan is right now.  Another reason this running with a limp means we still have some time to go.

Make no mistake, Beltran will play when he returns.  One of the other three outfielders will be the odd man out.  The Mets need to make sure he is ready.

Keep this in mind, we don’t know what will happen with Bay, Pagan, or Francoeur in the near future.  Baseball is a funny game.

One of these players could get injured (knock on wood),  or in the immortal words of Jeff Francoeur, one of them could wind up “flat-out sucking”.

So let’s slow down a little and see what happens before we start trying to figure out playing time in the outfield.  There is still quite a bit of baseball to be played until any decisions need to be made.

Double The Fun For The Mets

June 17, 2010

I have never been accused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer.  However, I am starting to pick up on a pattern in this series with the Indians.

Two nights ago, the Mets collected six infield hits and wound up scoring seven runs.  Last night, they smacked six doubles and scored eight runs.

My prediction for tonight?

Six home runs and nine runs.

The Mets beat up on the Indians 8-4 bringing their June record to an impressive 11-2.

The double barrage started in the third inning when the Mets were able to belt four in a row thanks to  Angel Pagan, David Wright, Ike Davis, and Jason Bay.

Jon Niese Let Us Down

Just kidding.

But I almost had that feeling based on his previous two starts.  Last night Niese was hit a bit, but was able to go seven innings while striking out three.  He gave up three runs on eight hits.

Allow me to be Mr. Obvious for a second when I say he just wasn’t as sharp as his previous start.  That being said, I’ll take seven innings and three runs every time.  That’s why they call it a quality start.

Angel Pagan Gets A Game Ball

Offensively, the Mets were impressive collecting fourteen hits on the night.

Due to the fact that I am too stingy and won’t pay for MLB.TV’s premium package, I have to watch the home team feed for every game.  The Indians broadcast team of Matt Underwood and Rick Manning wasn’t bad.  They are no Gary, Keith, and Ron but they are much better than the awful Marlins crew.

Back to the point.  Manning commented several times how impressed he was with the Mets’ approach at the plate.

They hit the ball where it was pitched and didn’t try to do too much, which resulted in several opposite field hits.

Angel Pagan got the scoring started in the third inning with an opposite field double.  He also produced a big two run single in the sixth inning that put the game away.

Pagan is now hitting .288 on the season and he collected his 27th, 28th, and 29th RBI.

Angel provided a quote that pretty much sums things up as far as the Mets’ play is concerned.

We’re just playing outstanding baseball right now

Jeff Francoeur, Ike Davis, and Jason Bay were the other members of the multi-hit club.

Jason Bay’s Quad

The game did provide one small area of concern.  In the first inning, Jason Bay had an awkward collision with Cleveland first Baseman, Andy Marte.

He would eventually leave the game in the sixth inning.  The Mets reported he has a contusion in his quadricep.

Allow me to play web MD for a second.  A contusion is just doc talk for a bruise.  I’m sure he is bit sore, but he won’t be missing a great deal of time with this.

On Deck

The Mets will attempt to bring their road record to 14-18 with a second consecutive road sweep tonight.

R.A. Dickey goes for his fifth win in his first five starts as he faces Frank Herrmann.

Check out MLB.com’s game preview.

You Win Some, You Lose Some: The Mets In Their Own Words About The Split

June 11, 2010

The Mets split a day-night doubleheader giving them another home series win yesterday.

After the Johan Santana loss in the day game, Jon Niese came out and pitched the best game of his short Major League Career.

He dealt a complete, one hit game that included six strikeouts.

Niese was one pitch away from a perfect game.  Chris Denorfia led off the third inning with a double.

The Mets In Their Own Words About The Day

Game One:

JOHAN SANTANA
I didn’t have my command.  It’s part of the game.  There’s not much I can do. I just pitch and at some point everything will turn around and we’ll start scoring runs.
I look at it a positive way.   Even though we aren’t scoring runs, we’re winning games even when I’m not pitching.
JEFF FRANCOEUR
It’s frustrating for him to know how good he is and what he means to this team and to not get him some wins is tough.  We’ve gotta find a way to score some runs and get him what he deserves.
JASON BAY
We don’t have the luxury of not winning when he pitches well, and that’s most of the time.

Game Two:

JON NIESE

I really didn’t understand what was going on until after the game.   It crushed me.

I couldn’t keep a smile from my face.  It’s great to have the fans behind you like that.  It’s just a great feeling.

ROD BARAJAS
When I gave him the ball, I told him he screwed it up for me.  He had no-hit stuff, and if he had gotten ahead of Denorfia early on — something special did happen, but something a little more special could have happened.”
He was a little quieter than normal.   He usually likes to talk and joke around. I didn’t hear him talk once in the dugout. I’m assuming he went out a little determined to make sure we won the series.
JERRY MANUEL
Outstanding.   It was quick, it was clean, and you can’t ask for much more than that.

Jeff Francoeur Is Alive And Well

June 6, 2010

For a number of weeks, many people were in the process of writing Jeff Francoeur off.

Did Francoeur feel sorry for himself?

Nope.

He decided to keep grinding and now finds himself as one of the hottest hitters in Major League Baseball.

In his last ten games, he is batting a cool .500.

Today, he came up with a huge three run home-run that helped the Mets come back from a five run deficit.

Thanks to Frenchy and the rest of the Mets, the Marlins got themselves swept at Citi Field this weekend.

Comeback Kids

What a great way to get the series sweep.  Many teams would have laid down after finding themselves down five runs in the sixth inning.

After all, the Mets had already clinched the series win, so why bother?

The Amazin’s deserve a great deal of credit for fighting to stay in this game and eventually coming up with a victory.

This is a great sign of this team’s determination.

I wonder if this attitude will transfer to the road at  some point?

Wright, Pagan, Barajas Give A Little Help To Their Friends

David Wright collected another three hits today.  Feasting on Fish pitching this series has been very beneficial for him.

It was good to see Angel Pagan come up with a big hit and a multi-hit game today.  He was in a mini-slump and I hope today’s game is a sign he is out of it.

Rod Barajas scored three runs as he was two for four as well.

Should We Be Concerned For Tak Terrific?

Hisanori Takahashi came up lame for the second start in a row.  He wasn’t able to make it out of the sixth, after giving up a three run bomb to Cody Ross.

He allowed five runs on five hits and struck out six.

Tak needs to rebound soon, or he may find himself back in the pen.

On Deck

The Mets enjoy an off day on Monday before attempting to exact some revenge on the San Diego Padres.

Jonathon Niese: Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back

June 6, 2010

I have no idea why, but the theme of the 70′s TV show, Welcome Back Kotter, keeps playing in my head in reference to the return of Jonathon Niese.

When I put things in perspective, it isn’t like he was on the DL for several months, or he is the Mets’ Cy Young candidate returning either.

It might have something to do with the fact he replaced Oliver Perez on the roster and that he is a young, home-grown, pitcher that has showed signs of being a quality starter for the Amazin’s.

His performance yesterday sounded (I was blacked out from watching the game) like it couldn’t have gone any better.

I had some concerns, based on the fact that the Marlins were very right-handed heavy and they do pretty well against lefties.

No worries, as Niese gave the Mets a return that was better than expected.

His line is impressive.

Seven innings pitched, six strike outs, only one walk and one run allowed.

I will try not to expect this every start, as it is wise to keep in mind that he is a young pitcher that will undoubtedly have some bumps along the way.

Wright, Davis, Francoeur, and Tejada

The offense was carried by David Wright,  Ike Davis, Jeff Francoeur, and Rueben Tejada.

Wright was two for three, driving in three runs, which included this monster blast down the left field line.

Ike Davis collected his first four hit game of his career as he went four for four, scored three runs, and drove in one.

Jeff Francoeur continued his hot streak with a two for four performance that included an RBI.

Rueben Tejada will be just fine if he continues to come up with one hit a game.  Especially, when they are of the two run double variety.

On Deck

The Mets go for the series sweep, as Hisanori Takahashi hopes to rebound against the fish.  He will oppose Ricky Nolasco.

Much Needed Knuckleball Win in Milwaukee

May 30, 2010

R.A. Dickey seems to be a player that doesn’t get excited by much.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I have seen him smile since he was brought up from Triple A.

Maybe it’s because I am so used to seeing player’s pound their chest and point to the sky for every success on the field.

This includes getting a hit, a walk, a sacrifice fly, a productive out, getting down a sacrifice bunt, and grabbing the regular flavor of sunflower seeds instead of the dreaded barbecue flavored ones.

Most pitcher’s would appear to be thrilled with having a 2.84 ERA and a 2-0 record in their first three starts.

Not R.A. Dickey.

Upon watching him at the end of today’s game, he appeared to be heading out to his lunch break after a successful power point presentation over next quarter’s revenue.

Enjoy it R.A.!

Too each their own I guess.

Frankly, I don’t care if he ever cracks a smile, as long as he continues to put the Mets in position to win the games he starts.

Some Dickey detractors  may point out that today’s performance included four earned runs.

That number is deceiving, because he kept the Brewers close, enabling the offense to finally brake free and put the Mets ahead.

It is also crucial that he pitched seven innings, which gave the bullpen a rest.

Slow Waking Offense

For a while, it appeared that the offense wasn’t going to come through today.  They let Randy Wolf off the hook repeatedly in this game.

Major league offenses should muster more than two runs when a pitcher gives up five hits and five walks in five innings of work.

Thankfully, the Mets woke up in the sixth, largely due to Luis Castillo.

The Brewers walked Jose Reyes intentionally to load the bases with two outs to get to Castillo.

Interestingly enough, Castillo was poised to take a 3-1 pitch for a walk to force in the go ahead run, but Mark Carlson decided to change his zone and call a pitch three inches off the outside corner a strike.

Luis preceded to slap a single up the middle scoring Jeff Francoeur and Henry Blanco.

That huge two out hit ignited the offense as they were able to plate six more runs later in the game to make this a comfortable win.

Overall, the Mets scored ten runs on sixteen hits.  Not bad for a team that looked lifeless at the plate in the first five innings.

Big Bats 5-8

David Wright, Angel Pagan, Jeff Francoeur, and Henry Blanco combined to go eleven for seventeen with six doubles, six RBIs, 12 runs, and one home run.

Francoeur was four for five with two doubles (both of which were to right center).  And they said Jason Bay was streaky….

On Deck

The Mets head out west to face the San Diego Padres on Monday night.  Hisanori Takahashi will face Kevin Correia in game one of this three game series.

All The Small Things

May 26, 2010

The Canadian Press

Normally, when you see an 8-0 win you would find a plethora of extra base hits for the winning team.

Although the Mets had three doubles and a triple, the game didn’t strike me as a power display.

What impressed me, was the Mets seemed to do everything they could to get runs in.

  • They advanced runners with productive outs.
  • They stole three bases.
  • Two runs scored on an RBI ground out and a sacrifice fly.

Under Pressure

Another great thing to see was that the Mets did not seem satisfied with any lead and scored throughout the ball game, ending their onslaught with a three run eighth inning.

They failed to score a run in only two innings.

R.A. Dickey Impresses

Dickey pitched six scoreless innings and compiled seven strikeouts in doing so.

His most impressive inning had to be the second.

The Phillies loaded the bases with no one out.  Dickey was able to get Ruiz to hit into a 1-2-3 double play.  His next move was to walk Castro to get to pitcher, Jamie Moyer.  Moyer struck out leaving an egg roll on the board for the Phillies.

Many people call that lucky.  I won’t because Dickey seems to have ice in his veins as he appears extremely calm when he pitches.

Dickey also showed his toughness.  He took a line drive from Ryan Howard off of his left elbow and stayed in the game. That had to go a long way for him in the Mets’ clubhouse.

Jose Jose Jose Jose Jose Jose

This was the first game of the season that Jose took over completely.  The Mets fed off of his three for five showing at the plate.

His performance included a triple, RBI, and three runs scored.

During the game, SNY flashed up a graphic that showed the Mets record when Jose scores two or more runs.  It was something to the effect of 90-16 (time does not permit me to look it up right now).

Impressive.  That stat shows why should have never been placed in the three hole.

Mets Bats

Jeff Francoeur (he also had two hits) and Jason Bay each collected two RBI.

Rod Barajas went two for four.

On Deck

Takahashi Hisanori will face Joe Blanton in game two.


Mets 10, Nats 7

May 21, 2010

Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

There are many fans that are going to spend some time on how the Mets made a 10-1 ball game a stressful one.

Not me.

There were plenty of things to be encouraged about from last night’s game.  Let’s examine a few.

David Wright Stepped Up

Some may disagree with this.  I think he is going to face unrealistic expectations from the Mets fan base for the rest of the his career.

Last night, he drove in four runs, including a huge three run double in the first inning that set the tone early.

What I found interesting about that hit is that he didn’t show any kind of exhilaration upon reaching second.  No pointing to the sky, no pounding his chest, not even a clap of his hands.

This could mean one of two things.

1.  He expects to do this, so he felt no need to celebrate.  It his job.

2.  He has developed a bit of a chip on his shoulder after all he has gone through.  Maybe a little bit of anger.

I’m not sure what to think if the second option is true.  On one hand, I like a little bit of anger from D Wright.  He has always come off as a nice guy.  A little bit of fire may not be a bad thing.

On the other hand, this could be a sign of resentment that he may have for the pressure he had faced as a Met with very little support from his team mates over the last two years.

Either way, I was impressed with his showing last night.  He only had one hit, but I’ll take four RBI’s any day.  At the end of the day, that’s what counts for your franchise player.

Offensive Explosion

The Mets bats came to play.  They collected 10 runs on 15 hits.

Even more impressive than their ten runs, is the fact that they only struck out three times in 39 at bats (none of which were David Wright).

Rod Barajas delivered his team leading 1oth home run of the season and knocked in two in the game.

Ike Davis and Jason Bay each had three hits.

Side note on Davis: Keep in mind this is a rookie that was originally assigned to the minors for the season.  He continues to impress and play with poise.

I like to think about Ike when things are going bad.  It goes something like this…”at least Ike Davis is here and playing well”.  It is  the “happy place” I go to when the Mets are on a slide.

Jeff Francoeur was also productive, as he went two for five with two RBIs.

Cool Raul

Raul Valdes’ performance was fantastic.  Some may argue this point, as he gave up three runs.

I think five innings out of the bullpen when you really aren’t preparing to pseudo-start the game deserves a pat on the back.

Now that Takahashi is in the starting rotation, it is good to know that Valdes can fill the long relief role.

Adam Didn’t

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous when Adam Dunn stepped to the plate in the eighth inning with the bases loaded.  The score was 10-6, so he represented the tying run.

Pedro Felciano didn’t appear to have his best stuff.  I love how on the outside he appears extremely confident.  That was a tough situation.

He came through and was able to get Dunn to strike out.

I understand, the Mets should not have been in that situation.  The fact of the matter is, they got an out when it mattered.

Ask the Cincinnati Reds about how important that is.

On Deck

The Mets face the dreaded Yankees.

Hisanori Takahashi faces Javier Vazquez

Can The Mets Wright The Ship?

May 19, 2010

Last night’s loss to Atlanta was particularly hard to watch.  I know, most losses are hard to stomach.  This one was the toughest so far in this young season.

Here’s why:

Wright’s Struggles

It is becoming  difficult to watch D. Wright flounder like this.

It doesn’t matter if you agree with it or not, this is a player that is the face of the franchise.  The Mets have set it up that way, and the media also places him in this role.

Before I go any further, let me make something very clear.  I want him to be the face, and I want him to do well. He works hard, says all of the right things, and keeps himself out of trouble.  He is a player that is easy to root for.

Last night he struck out another three times.  The last one during a very crucial ninth inning at bat.  Luis Castillo was standing on third base with only one out.  Wright failed to make contact.  He was overpowered by Billy Wagner’s fastball.

As much as I like Wright, he flat-out failed.  He needs to get that runner in.

I’ve come to believe that he cannot catch up to anything 93 mph or above.  Wagner reached 97mph on the radar last night.  It appeared that Wright had no chance.

To compound his horrible night at the plate, Wright threw a ball away in the bottom of the ninth inning that allowed the winning run to score.

The play has a slow, shallow, one hop off of Melky Cabera’s bat that wasn’t a routine chance.  Wright managed to get to the ball and throw off-balance.  It was a play that many third basemen make.  Wright didn’t.

I truly feel for him.  That had to be the worst inning in his career.

It definitely had an effect on him.

It’s a tough, humbling game, and it really can bring you to your knees sometimes.

I just hope this is the bottom, and that two months from now we are looking at this game as an afterthought or a rallying point for him.

Santana Can’t Get Any Breaks

Johan Santana gave the Mets another solid start.  Another solid start wasted.  He went seven innings while giving up only two runs.

At what point does he start to get frustrated?

Davis and Francoeur Homer

The Mets showed some fight once again.  And again, it wasn’t enough.  I hope they can sustain this scrappy mentality, but at some point losses like this could deflate this team.  The rolling over will then commence.

Last night, the Braves were able to get Johan in the third inning, thanks to a Troy Glaus two run home run.

It didn’t look like the Mets were going to be able to touch Kris Medlen.

Ike Davis and Jeff Francoeur showed some moxie as they both were able to come up with solo home runs in the fifth inning.

Maybe this is a sign that Francoeur will get hot again.

On Deck

R.A Dickey gets his first start of the season as he faces the ageless Livan Hernandez in Washington


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