Archive for the ‘Rod Barajas’ Category

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.

The Mets Deserve Defensive Praise

June 10, 2010

As of today, the Mets find themselves three games out of first place in the National League East.

Night after night, we focus on how the pitching staff performed and how effective the offense was.

Is David Wright out of his slump?

What will Ike Davis do at the plate tonight?

Isn’t it great that Jose Reyes is back and healthy and starting to be a thorn in pitcher’s side?

A great deal of credit goes to the emergence of Mike Pelfrey to compliment Johan Santana.  R.A Dickey and Jonathon Niese have shown promise as well.

However, we tend to forget how important fielding, throwing, and catching is in this game.

Numbers Don’t Lie

The Mets are fourth in the National League with 31 errors.  This is good enough for seventh in all of Major League baseball.

Jose Reyes Playing Shortstop Every Day Saves Runs

The other night Gary Cohen and Ron Darling started talking about how improved the defense is during their telecast.

Cohen cited the fact that having Jose Reyes back at shortstop makes a huge difference.

I tend to agree.

Jose’s range allows him to make a number of plays for his pitchers that weren’t made last season due to his absence.

He permits the outfield to play a few steps deeper because he can get back quickly to cover shallow fly balls.

His presence allows Wright to play a step or two closer to the bag.  How many doubles has that saved this year?

Don’t forget about Jose’s arm.

How many more double plays have the Mets been able to turn due to his cannon?

How many soft ground balls to short have been put outs versus infield hits?

Ike Davis Isn’t Just An Upgrade Offensively

It has been years since the Mets have had a decent first basemen defensively.

Ike Davis showed us early he was going to be an upgrade for the infield. His propensity to catch fly balls while flipping over railings is not the only thing he can do with his glove.

Ike’s confidence in his ability in the field is evident to Ron Darling.

Darling stated that you can tell how good a first basemen is defensively just by watching how far away from the line he plays.

Ike isn’t afraid to play off the line.  This does one important thing for the Mets.  It closes up the hole on the right side of the infield, limiting how much ground Luis Castillo has to cover.

Davis’ height is also an advantage.  Standing at 6’5″, his reach has taken away a number of hits already this season that would be out of reach by shorter first basemen.

Ike has also displayed an above average ability to pick low throws out of the dirt, a necessity for a solid defensive first baseman.

The Outfield

Angel Pagan has played a very good centerfield this season.  His speed gives him the ability to cover a great deal of ground, which is needed at Citi Field.

His glove has been a great asset to the Mets pitching staff as well.  There have been a number of occasions where Pagan has made a great catch to rob a hit from an opposing batter.

Which player leads the Mets in outfield assists?

Most people would answer Jeff Francoeur.

Surprise, it is Angel Pagan.  His six assists puts him in second place in all of major league baseball.  (Francoeur has five which is good for seventh).

Speaking of Jeff Francoeur,  the reputation his right arm carries slows down opposing runners routinely.

Hitters tend to think carefully about stretching a single into a double or going from first to third when the ball is hit out to Frenchy.

I always thought he was over rated as an outfielder when before he got to the Mets.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he played for the Braves.

Although his break on the ball isn’t pretty, it is effective.  His range is above average and is an aid to the pitching staff.

Jason Bay was brought to the Mets for his power.  Obviously, he is lacking in that department, but his defense was underrated.

He has given the Mets a much-needed upgrade over his recent colleagues that have patrolled that position.  Daniel Murphy, Nick Evans, and Moises Alou didn’t exactly help the Amazin’s defensively.

Barajas and Blanco

Early in May I complimented Omar Minaya’s decision to bring Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco to the Mets.

I wrote:

I get the feeling that both Barajas and Blanco have a plan for every situation their pitchers face.  More importantly, their pitchers appear to believe in the plan that B-Squared has provided.

They continue to handle the pitching staff with confidence and they should receive some of the praise for the success of their pitchers.

If the Mets continue to get good starting pitching and continue to play at this high level defensively, they will remain in contention for the playoffs.

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.

Realistic Expectations: Updated

June 1, 2010

The first two months of the season have gone by in a blur.  Only one thing is certain for the New York Mets.

They have yet to show what type of team they have.

Some nights, they have flashed brilliance both offensively and defensively.  Other nights, the bats are stoically silent and the pitching is lack luster.

I guess that is the life of a .500 baseball club.

There are many questions that are to be answered by this team.

What are their strengths?

Starting pitching?  Offense?  The bullpen?

What can we expect to see from this team in the future?

Back on April 10th, I felt that a realistic expectation for the Mets would be to make the playoffs as a Wild Card Team.

There were too many hurdles to challenge for the National League East Crown.  The Phillies were too stacked in terms of starting pitching and their offense appeared to be as potent as ever.

What’s Changed?

Not much has changed with the Phillies’  pitching staff, but their offense seems to have regressed a bit.  This regression has allowed the Mets to stay within three games of first place in the National League East.

I also believed that Carlos Beltran would be back in June, and all the Mets needed to do was to play .500 baseball until he returned.

The Mets held up their end of the bargain, as they are guaranteed to have a .500 record going into June.

Beltran, however, is an enigma for this club.

His return date is anyone’s guess as he has been relegated to only jogging .  Once he begins sprinting and baseball related activities, he then would need four to six weeks to return to the lineup.

What Do The Mets Need To Do To Make The Playoffs?

Mathematically speaking, they need to win ninety games.  This means they need to go 64-46 in their last 110 games.

Impossible?

No.

The 2009, 2008, and 2007 National League Wild Card teams found themselves with .500 or below records at the end of May as well.

A continuation of quality starting pitching will help a great deal.

The Mets may have stabilized their fourth and fifth spots in their rotation with R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi.

Jonathan Niese could return as early as Saturday to give the Mets a competitive rotation following Santana and Pelfrey.

Their bullpen has been quite the surprise this season as they have been a very reliable bunch.

Offensively, the Mets need the following things to happen to help this team produce some winning months this summer:

  • David Wright must cut down on the strikeouts and start hitting closer to his career average of .306.
  • Jason Bay needs to hit for more power.  Three home runs in two months will not cut it.
  • Jose Reyes needs to continue to by the catalyst for the lineup, as he has displayed in the last couple of weeks.

If two of the three of these key players can be productive, this lineup can produce the offense needed to get this team to ninety wins.

The less known Mets like Angel Pagan, Rod Barajas, and Ike Davis have shown they can contribute on a regular basis.

Is It Time To Pass Judgment On This Team?

I wrote the following at the beginning of the season:

No matter how difficult, it will be prudent to wait to pass any judgment on the Mets until June.  Some may consider this too early to judge at all.

In one humble  writer’s opinion, it is still too early to write this team off.

There is one important factor as to why I feel this team still has a legitimate chance to make it to the playoffs.

They have shown a great deal of fight throughout the season.  The twenty inning marathon in St. Louis is a game that many use as an illustration for this point.

If you examine all of their games, they rarely go down quietly.  They have consistently scored late in ball games to get closer or to increase their lead.

The Mets need this grittiness to continue.

It will be interesting to see where this team is at the end of June.

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR SPORTSLEAK.COM

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 3, Braves 2

May 18, 2010

Whew….

It’s funny how long losing streaks feel compared to winning streaks.

Thanks to Mike Pelfrey, the Mets obtained a well needed victory over the Braves.

Big Pelf went deep into this game pitching 7.2 innings for the win.

Tipping Pitches?

I was forced to watch the Braves’ coverage of the game.  I have to tell you, they bring a whole new meaning to the word excitement.

I  do have to admit, they are a bit more interesting now that John Smoltz is in the booth.

They repeatedly talked about how Pelfrey was telegraphing some of his pitches.  It didn’t seem to matter, but it will be interesting to see what happens the next time he pitches against the Braves.

Sticky Situation

Things got a little dicey in the eighth inning when Pedro Feliciano took over for Pelfrey.

The Braves had runners on the corners with two outs.  Intelligently, Pedro pitched around Chipper Jones to load the bases.  There were a couple of really close pitches in the at bat that didn’t go Feliciano’s way.

He then had to face Brian McCann.  Fortunately, he was able to strike out McCann to end the chance.  It was the biggest moment of the game.

Nicely done, Pedro.

The Lumber

There is not a whole lot to write here.

Rod Barajas was the hero once again as he continues to endear himself to the Mets’ faithful.  He provided the biggest hit of the night with a two run double in the second inning.

Jose Reyes was able to manufacture a much-needed run in the sixth inning.  He singled up the middle and was then bunted over by Luis Castillo.  Jose stole third with a tremendous jump from second.  He was then able to score on a weak ground ball by Chris Carter.

Huh?

Speaking of Chris Carter.  Jerry Manuel replaced the Animal in the seventh inning with Jeff Francoeur.

Jerry wasn’t completely out of his mind, as he wanted to improve the defense late in the game.  I get that.

If this is going to be your plan, then take Carter out of the four hole.

Dubious Streak

David Wright now has a 14 game strike out streak.  At first, I thought he was going to break the streak.  However, he was completely over matched by Takashi Saito in his last at bat.

In D Wright’s defense, Saito’s fastball looked un-hittable.  Just ask Ike Davis and Rod Barajas. They were also blown away by Saito that inning.

On Deck

The Mets have their ace on the mound with a chance to sweep the series.

Can I even say sweep the series when it is only a two game set?

Johan Santana will face Kris Medlen.

Marlins 7, Mets 5: Box Score Reaction

May 16, 2010

The Mets’ slide continues.   It is doubly painful because they are dropping games to divisional opponents.

I was at the little league fields and my son’s game went into extra innings, so I did not have to witness this loss.

I thought I would have a little fun and write a post game reaction just by what I see from the box score.  I haven’t watched any of the game so I won’t be influenced by any visuals.

Old school style.

Pitching:

John Maine had an “Ollie” and could only give the Mets five innings.  In those five innings he allowed seven hits, six runs, and five walks (not good).

It appears as though he struggled with his control in the first, because I don’t see any extra base hits in the box score in the opening inning.

Maine’s ERA is listed at an abysmal 6.13.

Offense:

It appears as though the offense wasn’t the problem.  They scored five runs.  Seven men left on base isn’t exactly something to rejoice about, but I’ll take an offensive performance like this over what we have seen lately.

Jose Reyes rewarded Jerry Manuel by going 2 for 5 from the lead off spot and he scored two runs.

David Wright went 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBI’s.

Jason Bay went 2 for 4 with an RBI.

Luis Castillo collected two hits as well, including a triple and and two RBI’s.

Rod Barajas had two hits, and Chris Carter added a pinch hit.

Jeff Francoeur continues to struggle mightily.  He was o for 4 and his average has dropped to .215.

Outlook:

The outlook is still bleak for the Mets.  They have dropped to fourth place in the division and are five games back of the first place Phillies.

Jon Niese takes the mound against Ricky Volasco as the Mets try to avoid the sweep.

The Mets could have used a solid performance from Maine.

They already need to fill one spot in their rotation.  I was hoping John had figured things out and was on his way back to being a serviceable starter.

Blog Reactions:

Check out these post game reactions from other Mets blogs if you want a visual.

METSBLOG

METSMERIZED ONLINE

METS TODAY

Marlins 2, Mets 1

May 14, 2010

The offensive struggles continue for the Mets.  Their latest failure to hit,  squandered a great outing by Johan Santana.

Santana gave the Mets seven scoreless innings, but it wasn’t good enough.

Fernando Nieve was able to shut down the Marlins in the eighth.   Unfortunately, he wound up allowing the winning run to score on a wild pitch in the ninth inning.

Rod Barajas was responsible for the only Mets run as he came up with an RBI single in the second inning.

The Mets had a great opportunity to take the lead in the ninth inning as Luis Castillo managed to get to second base with no one out.  For the second consecutive game, Jose Reyes failed to move him over with a sacrifice fly.  He wound up flying out again.

After Reyes’ fly out, Jason Bay and David Wright failed to score Castillo.

I understand the fact Josh Johnson was on the mound for the Marlins.  So, some of the offensive futility can be attributed to facing a good pitcher.

However, the lack of offense is becoming alarming.

The other day Jerry Manuel told us he thinks this team is on the verge of another winning streak.

One game later, he is starting to doubt the ability of his lineup to score runs.

We have to probably take note these next couple of days of where we are as an offensive club.  If we continue to see the same thing, I’m going to have to make some adjustments to the lineup.

Which one is it Jerry?  You are giving a bit of a mixed message here.

I am all for mixing up the lineup.  I am particularly interested in seeing Jose Reyes moved out of the three spot and back to the lead off role.

Apparently, we’ll have to wait a couple of days to find out what kind of moves Jerry is contemplating.

On Deck:

Oliver Perez fights for his life in the starting rotation as he faces Anibal Sanchez tonight in Miami.

Mets 8, Nationals 6

May 12, 2010

I continue to enjoy how much this team fights.  The only thing that has been missing was a come from behind victory.

Down five, the Mets plated six runs in the bottom of  the eighth inning to take control of this game.

Throughout the game, the Mets continued to miss out on chances to bring runs in.  I had the feeling they were in one of those streaks where they just couldn’t get a big hit at the right time.

The eighth inning changed everything.

Hopefully, this win gives the Mets a little bit of a boost.  There are several reasons why this could be the case:

  • David Wright and Jason Bay each went 3 for 4.  When they are hitting at the same time, this team can pile up runs.
  • Rod Barajas continues to be clutch.  He went 2 for 4 with a game tying double.
  • Ike Davis may be able to run for Mayor of New York if his season continues to go this way.  Even though he was quiet at the plate, he made his third flip over the railing catch of the season.  This latest addition was the final out of the game.  I am now officially naming that rail, Ike’s Rail.
  • The bullpen continues to dish out zeroes.  They quieted the Nationals in this one for 4.2 innings.
  • Last but not least, Chris Carter.  It has only been one game, so the jury is still out.  However, Carter came up with a HUGE two run double in his first at bat.  It gave the Mets the lead in the eighth.

As far as Carter is concerned, his attitude and approach could be a huge catalyst for this team if he hits.  He has been described as intense and an extremely hard worker.  Jerry Manuel has nicknamed him “Animal”.

This is a combination that seems like it would be  a great fit for the Mets’ clubhouse.  There aren’t any huge inflated egos that Carter’s attitude could rub the wrong way.

Next Up:

Mike Pelfrey tries to give the Mets their fourth home series win in a row in the rubber game.  He’ll be facing Craig Stammen.

Barajas and Blanco Are Making Minaya Look Like a Genius

May 8, 2010

All winter long I read about how  the Mets were going to sign Bengi Molina.

Yesterday, news broke that Molina is still bitter that he didn’t wind up with the Mets.

I am still trying to understand his rationale for complaining, when he turned down the Mets’ one year 5 million dollar offer and wound up accepting a one year 4.5 million dollar deal with the Giants.

Instead of Molina, Omar Minaya decided to stick to his guns and not offer a two year deal to Bengie Molina.  He chose to sign Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco to handle the pitching staff instead.

Handle the pitching staff, they have.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t understand all of the nuances that go into calling a game behind the plate.

However, I do get the feeling that both Barajas and Blanco have a plan for every situation their pitchers face.  More importantly, their pitchers appear to believe in the plan that B Squared has provided.

If you would have told me that Barajas and Blanco would have helped straighten out this pitching staff at the beginning of the year, I would have gladly accepted it, without a care about their performance at the plate.

Not only have they helped straighten out the pitching staff, they have become an integral part of the offense.

Barajas especially.

He is leading the team with nine home runs and is starting to convince fans that he is a legitimate clean up hitter.

The much maligned Minaya needs to be given credit here.  Instead of giving in to an over-priced veteran, he came up with a better solution that has improved the Mets both offensively and defensively.

Barajas and Blanco have placed an exclamation point on how right this move was.  They have given the Mets back to back wins with walk off home runs.

Right in front of Molina’s eyes.


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