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Bring the Ring


Duaner looks hurt. I don't know what happened, but it doesn't look good. If he went the TJ way, it'd be the third Mets pitcher of the year to do so. And the second reliever with goggles. Interesting.

But let me take time in the waning moments of the game to promote a new movement. I'm not a fool, I know that the Mets aren't going to have reliable set-up men fall into their lap. I know Bradford probably won't continue holding lefties to a .221 average and that Feliciano probably won't continue to hold righties to a .204 average.

So, what are the Mets' options in-house to fill the void should Sanchez be DLed?

Option 1: John Maine.
He's not a set-up guy, but he can be a capable long relivever. That would allow Darren Oliver, the team's third best pitcher by VORP, to move into more of a middle-relief/set-up role in the pen. Oliver might suffer from overexposure, but it would be worth a shot.

Option 2: Henry Owens.
Ever since Heath Bell found himself freed from AAA, the cries of a rabid public have been quieted as he has been about an average pitcher since being promoted in 2004 and going up and down from Norfolk every year. The new cries are emerging for this youngster Henry Owens. Plucked from the Pirates farm system in the Rule V draft, the righty has thrown hard despite injuries while closing at AA Binghamton. He's posted an 0.83 ERA as well as allowing a mere 13 baserunners in 21.2 innings. The little caveat? Owens celebrated his 27th birthday earlier this season. So, consider Lastings Milledge played as a 20-year old in AA last year, and that most AA players are older than Milledge, though not by much. Owens is facing much younger competition, meaning they're probably less exposed to refined stuff. If Owens has it, that's an easy answer for his dominance. He's not the answer.

Option 3: Anderson Garcia
Garcia was up on the Mets' roster earlier this season, and even though he didn't get into a game, he pitched very well at Binghamton. 1.59 ERA. But since being promoted to AAA Norfolk, another Met with two last names struggled at a higher level. So far he's posted a 6.11 ERA in 17 innings of work at Norfolk, allowing a lot of hits and an excessive 3 homers in that span. Probably not the answer.

So who is?

Option 4: Royce Ring

As you can tell from the title of this post, I want Royce Ring. I think his funky delivery is the best thing this side of the Mississippi. He's been nasty in AAA, locking down 5 saves while posting a 1.61 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning. He can face lefties, he can face righties or he could be moved into a stricter LOOGY role allowing the Mets to take advantage of Feliciano's ability to beat righties. Last year with the Mets, he was victimized only by poor control, allowing about a walk per inning. But in all honesty, if he can fix that, Royce can be nasty. And he can help these Mets, right now. Let's get the express jet a-rumblin', boys, because he needs to be here by 4 tomorrow. Watch the Mets salvage this hard-throwing former first round draft pick and watch them make him the only good thing ever to come out of that Roberto Alomar madness. What a lefty. What a guy.

It's Ring time.

oh, PS. David Wright is the MVP. Of everything.

PPS. They won too. 6-1.

Headin' north

  • Mets: The Mets just suffered through what was actually a pretty disappointing homestand. Their bats (well, everyone but David Wright's) were shut up in 3 games against the Orioles and they were held in check by Bronson Arroyo the first game of the Cincy series. They captured the next one, but Alpaca Boy blew the save on Wednesday when Stache heroics had all but guaranteed a win, backed by Jose Reyes' cycle. Pedro and David Wright did their menace thing, though, and combined to drive in 4 runs and whiff 8 Reds on Thursday in a 6-2 win in which ChadBrad notched his second save. The series with the Jays is important, as the Jays are a hot squad who is among the best hitting teams in the show. It's also a homecoming for former Jay legend Chris Woodward. And, um, Carlos Delgado.

  • Toronto pitching was supposed to be improved over the offseason with the high-priced additions of B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett. BJ has 20 saves and an ERA of 0.49. A.J. Burnett has made three starts. 0-1, 5.06 ERA. The Blue Jay ace, as usual, is the frequently injured but dominant Roy Halladay. The Cy Young winner is 8-2 with a 2.94 ERA and WHIP barely above 1. Their second-best starter, Gustavo Chacin, is injured, which makes me sad. His glasses and awful skin made him a focal point of my amusement. Oh well. The rotation has had some surprises, most notably the fact that Josh Towers is the early frontrunner for the Jose Lima award of worst major league pitcher. He's 1-8 with an 8.76 ERA, but that doesn't seem to make him unhappy in his team photo. Rookie Casey Janssen has been average in his spot, epitomizing averageness with a 5-5 record and 4.50 ERA. He had pitched pretty well on the season before melting down in his last two starts, to the tune of 7 runs in 3 innings against the Marlins and 5 runs in 3.1 innings against the Orioles. Ted Lilly has pitched decently on the year, with a 7-7 record and 4.17 ERA. Ty Taubenheim made a couple starts as well, but he now toils in the pen. The Blue Jays bullpen has been a tale of both good and bad. Ryan and Justin Speier have been a nasty setup man/closer tandem. Everyone else has been terrible, including my personal hero and lefty specialist Scott Schoeneweis. The motley crew of Brian Tallet, Scott Downs, ex-Met Pete Walker and Jason Frasor has been awful on the year. The Blue Jays' strength obviously does not lie in their pitching.

  • Toronto hitting is how this team makes their living. Their offense is not at all imposing, lacking a star presence besides Vernon Wells. Troy Glaus and Alexis Rios are nice players, but they are far from great. But this year, as those bandbox graphics on SNY during the Philly road trip showed, this park is small. Vernon Wells is overrated. It's true. Harold Reynolds devotes hours to talking about how underrated he is. He's a good ballplayer. He's not Willie Mays. Alex Rios has been phenomenal this year after showing far less power in his first two seasons. He's hitting .319 on the year with 15 HR and 50 RBI, nice numbers for the right fielder. Acquisition Troy Glaus has thumped, hitting 21 HR and driving in 53 runs despite a batting average of only .253. First baseman Lyle Overbay has performed pretty well, with a .290 average and a .370 OBP. Catcher Bengie Molina is hitting .298, while DH Shea Hillenbrand is batting .318. Reed Johnson has also hit very well, with a .379 average and .466 OBP. Frank Catalanotto is also hitting for average at a nice clip of .325. The Toronto hitters are basically all tablesetters with the exception of Glaus, Wells and Rios, their right-handed big three.

    Starters: (complete with freaky Canadian start times)
    Game 1: Friday, 7:07
    Tom Glavine, LHP (10-2, 3.48 ERA) @ Casey Janssen, RHP (5-5, 4.50 ERA)
    Edge: Glavine

    Game 2: Saturday, 4:07
    Orlando Hernandez, RHP (4-6, 5.23 ERA) @ Roy Halladay, RHP (8-2, 2.94 ERA)
    Edge: Halladay

    Game 3: Thursday, 1:05
    Steve Trachsel, RHP (5-4, 4.67 ERA) @ Josh Towers, RHP (1-8, 8.76 ERA)
    Edge: Trachsel

    Players to Watch for:
    TOR: Lyle Overbay. Good left-handed hitter who is in better position than the righties to tee off against El Duque and Trachsel.

    NYM: Carlos Delgado. Rested yesterday, his homecoming is today. Let's see if he can christen Rogers Centre (Skydome) with some moonshots.

    Player of the Series: Carlos Delgado

    NYM record: 45-27, 1st place
    TOR record: 40-32, 3rd place, 3.0 GB

    Picks: Sweep for the Metsies. Even against the nastiest of the nasty, Doc Halladay.
  • MVP?

    Before we even get this foolish MVP talk started, a note of business.

    Monster.com is offering a ridiculously cool opportunity as part of their sponsorship of the MLB All-Star Game. While you can view their press release here, the basic gist is that a lucky entrant will snag two tickets to the ASG as well as press credentials, plane tickets, the opportunity to interview an All-Star, the ability to liveblog the whole thing AND lodging/airfare/spending money. The contest runs until Sunday and can be accessed by clicking on the banner. Gotta love contests.

    On another note, your blogger's fortunes have changed. Last year I began the season 0-5 at Shea, while rallying and finishing strong. This year, today's win pushed me to 2-0. I saw the Yanks vanquished by the Sandman on Sunday night and now I caught David Wright and Jose Reyes wreck Eric Milton and his goofy changeups. The ball was carrying well, as neither of Wright's homers looked gone from where I was sitting, right near home plate.

    Today was a welcome respite from the agitation of Ryan Freel, a player whose 14.7 VORP ranks him right in between Jeff Kent and David Eckstein. That ranks him 40th among all National Leaguers. 42nd? None other than Carlos Delgado. Wretched, eh? Wright and Beltran rank 3rd and 4th respectively, with Reyes the next Met hitter at 13th despite his unsabermetric style of baseball.

    I don't think David Wright's performance this year is all about batting behind Delgado. Even when he has Father Time proceeding him, he can still hit. Really well.

    Who didn't look so good today? Pedro. It seems like a columnist could write "Pedro: 'Ow my body part'" and it would be a factual story somewhere along the line. First his toe, then his hip after falling in Miami? Maybe the Mets ought to put him in a full body cast. He was okay today. His stuff looked live, but he was missing his spots occasionally. Was it the high socks?

    Speaking of full body casts, I have mixed feelings on the news out of Chicago. Mark Prior is unhealthy, with his fastball barely touching 90 and his breaking stuff flat and fat. Kerry Wood is unable to throw more than sixty pitches in succession without pain. It's been a hobby of mine to rag on the two of them, both how Dusty Baker pitches his aces into the ground and how fragile Mark Prior inherently is. I want to think it's sad. Honestly, though, when you trade Dontrelle Willis for one season of six-fingered Antonio Alfonseca and two seasons of Matt Clement and his odd facial hair, aren't you asking for trouble?

    Roger Clemens made his 2006 debut tonight. I think that's the first time anyone's written anything without making a pun about rockets. He was not good. Five innings. Eight baserunners. Six hits. Future star Francisco Liriano smacked the Astros around, to the tune of 2 runs over eight innings, whiffing seven while only allowing four hits. And the trade made by the San Francisco Giants with the Twins pales in comparison to Kazmir-Zambrano. The Giants gave up Liriano, nasty closer Joe Nathan and starter Boof Bonser (yes, that's his name) who has shown flashes of success in Minnesota. What'd they get back? Nothing but a one-season rental of A.J. Pierzynski. They declined him arbitration after he fought with their pitching staff.

    So at this juncture in the season, it seems like a good idea to handicap the NL MVP race.

  • Mets: Carlos Beltran, David Wright
    Beltran has been phenomenal, hitting homers and walking as he used to while playing solid defense in center field. He's slugged .617, good for third among NL regulars while trailing only Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard. Beltran has stolen 8 more bases than the two of them put together, however. Howard's OBP is also a good 40 points lower than Beltran's.

    What is there to say about David Wright? 17 homers and 60 RBI on the year and we're more than half a month from the ASB? He's hitting .338! His OBP is .405! He has 19 doubles and 2 triples on the year as well. 11 stolen bases. Plus, his defense at third is greatly improved. One other thing? He's hitting .436 against lefties. .522 OBP. .782 slugging. This kid is the real deal.

  • Braves: Andruw Jones
    Well, he drives in a lot of runs. He hits some homers. He plays Gold Glove-caliber defense in CF. Has he helped them win this year? No.

  • Marlins: Miguel Cabrera
    This guy has the second-best VORP in all of baseball. He's hitting .339 with a sterling .434 OBP. He's thumped ten homers, 23 doubles and driven in 45 runs while stealing 7 bases. Good player who lacks support in that lineup.

  • Phillies: Ryan Howard
    Good player with excellent power. He started slowly, but after a 7 RBI effort against the Yankees, he surpassed Phat Albert in RBI (67) and tied him in HR (25). While both of these statistics are incredibly subjective and he plays his home games in that bandbox in Philly, the man drove in all seven runs in a 9-7 loss. Bobby Abreu's ridiculously talented at getting on base, but with the slumps of Utley, Rollins and Burrell, Howard is this team's MVP.

  • Nationals: Alfonso Soriano
    The guy moved to a new position and hits a lot of homers and steals a lot of bases. Doesn't do much else, really. His VORP is lower than teammate Nick Johnson's. He's a flashy, athletic player who should be an All-Star, not an MVP.

  • Cardinals: Albert Pujols
    Defending MVP, he went down for a while and his stats still stayed near the top of the league. He was slugging .751. That's really good. Scott Rolen has also done an admirable job in his place in the lineup, though.

  • Reds: No one
    Adam Dunn is the only standout on this team. And he's hitting in the .220s without RBIs. That does not an MVP make.

  • Astros: Lance Berkman
    He's a machine. Hitting .313 with 20 HR and 64 RBI with an above-average .389 OBP and .613 SLG. He's really the only offensive force on that team, aside from Morgan Ensberg and his ridiculously inconsistent power.

  • Brewers: Carlos Lee*
    I think Prince Fielder is the MVP of the Brewers, easy. But he wouldn't win it because Lee's HR/RBI numbers are far more gaudy. Carlos Lee doesn't do much else though.

  • Cubs: No one. Period.

  • Pirates: Jason Bay
    Uh, can you name anyone else on the Pirates? Good. Can you tell me if they have a .415 OBP, 20 HR and a .292 average? 6 stolen bases? 54 RBI? Didn't think so.

  • Padres: None.
    How is this club in first place? Chris Young has pitched well with Brian Giles and Dave Roberts contributing well on offense.

  • Dodgers: Nomar Garciaparra
    He's hitting .361. 8 homers and 43 RBI in 52 games. What a show. .429 OBP. Never seems to go hitless and always comes up big for that squad.

  • Rockies: Matt Holliday
    He leads the team in everything. Average? Check. HR? Check. RBI? Check. Runs? Check. His numbers aren't great, but they're definitely the best on the team. And good.

  • Giants: None.
    Jason Schmidt has been good, but it hasn't shown in the win column. Their hitting has been atrocious. Including Barroid.

  • Diamondbacks: Jason Grimsley.
    Seriously, if they gave out an award for Least Valuable Player, Grimsley would run away with it. Even on Russ Ortiz's D-Backs.
  • 6.22.2006

    The Agony of Defeat

    There's nothing to say.

    This was absolutely crushing.

    Man of the hour: Jose Valentin and his fickle switch-hitting.

    Joke of the day: Billy Wagner.

    Go get em for Pedro tomorrow, Alpaca Man.

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