Tag Archives: Braves

If, If, If…

With 25 days until the season opener in Miami, the New York Mets are playing out their spring exhibition season like everybody else, looking to see who should be brought up North or actually South this year to make the final cut.

Despite all the attention ownership is receiving about their financial woes and past investments, the team has been playing daily, without any major injuries under new management and coaching staff.

The Mets are hoping to fly under the radar this season as nobody is expecting big things with a team relying on a handful of ifs. The rotation will not be headed by Johan Santana for the first time in four years, relying instead on last years 15 game winner Mike Pelfrey to be their number 1, followed by R.A Dickey, Jonathan Neise, Chris Young and Chris Capuano. R.A. Dickey was a pleasant surprise last year winning 11 games and a sub 3.00 ERA. Neise first full year in the bigs was a good one, however the last month he wore down and had an era over 7.00. Young and Capuano were low risk pick-ups in the off season hoping to eat innings and provide some leadership. Both, have been allstars in the past before arm issues plagued them.

The lineup looks rather solid,”If” Beltran can play a full season on his ailing knees. “If” Jason Bay can bounce back from a late summer concussion and be the hitter they signed for 4yrs/ 65 million. “If” Jose Reyes can remain healthy in his walk year and be the base threat that he has been in the past. And “if” they can find the second baseman who can get the job done defensively, which is currently a battle between Luis Castillo, Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner and rule V draft Brad Emaus.

The bullpen…well, we will see how that pans out. They do still have Frankie Rodriguez closing games at the moment. Will he make over 55 appearances putting into effect the $17 million dollars he  would be due? Does Reyes get traded if he is having a great season, so the Mets can get something in return?

I think alot has to go right this season for the Mets to be a considered a wild card team. They arent even the 3rd best team in their division. Does the new manager Terry Collins keep the team motivated and hold the team’s collective ear? Can Josh Thole become the every day catcher the Mets believe he will?

Anyway, as a die hard Mets fan, I know that alot is expected to happen for this team to be competitive longer than just the All Star break.

Prediction for 2011: fourth place 82-80

Beltran the right move for 2011

This morning Terry Collins and Carlos Beltran agreed upon Angel Pagan as being the everyday centerfielder. This move should help keep Beltran’s bat in the lineup longer this year and possibly assist in extending his career. Beltran is in the final year of his 7 year contract signed with the Mets in the offseason before 2005.

Rightfield at Citifield is not routine by any means with angled outfield walls that vary in height and the extremely limited foul territory. There is plenty of field to roam in the gap but with Pagan in center, the gaps will be shrunk some.

With a healthy Beltran, Jose Reyes and Jason Bay along with David Wright and sophomore year from Ike Davis the Mets are leaning heavy on this lineup to produce  in order to have any chance of improving on last year’s 79-83 mark.

Do the Mets have enough for the long haul of 2010?

July 7, 2010. With the All-star break less than a week away, the Mets find themselves still in the thick of the hunt for the division lead. Before the season began, the general consensus had them pegged as a .500 team. Their pitching was suspect, but their offense was expected to keep them afloat, including an expected return of Carlos Beltran at the beginning of May.

Today, despite the absence of Beltran and a slow start by the offense, timely and effective starting pitching the Mets find themselves 10 games above .500(47-37) and 2 games behind the division leading Braves. The Braves pitching has been superb all the way around and the comeback season from Troy Glaus as well as a solid first half by rookie sensation Jayson Heyward and Martin Prado have led the offensive charge. The Phillies have been fighting injuries the whole first half and will have to endure an a lengthy DL stint by Chase Utley until September.

Though the Mets have received some great performances from R.A Dickey (6-1) and Hisanori Takahashi (7-3) their relief loses some length with both as starters. Jonothan Niese (6-2) going into tonight, has been solid and appears to improve with each outing. Pelfrey has hit a rough patch the past 3 starts but is (10-3) so far which tells you why the Mets have been successful. Johan Santana(6-5) has given up 1 run in his last two starts covering 16 innings and appearing comfortable again since surgery last year. With Beltran’s pending return following the break, the bench gets stronger with Angel Pagan(.300) and Jeff Francoeur splitting time in rightfield.

Will this be enough for the Mets to make a playoff run? If they go after Cliff Lee they will certainly have to give up prospects and he will still, be a free agent in the fall. If the Mets could hold onto Neise who is a rookie still, then any of the other prospects would have to be considered viable chips(Mejia, Thole, Martinez , or Tejada).Will Johan be the dominant second half pitcher his resume indicates he’ll be? Does Pelfrey get back on track and does Niese continue to grow as a solid young lefthander? As presently constituted, i think the Mets need more relief pitching to get to the wildcard and I am sure the Mets are looking and listening to the rumors and seeing what is available. I would welcome Cliff Lee with arms wide open, but then you better be the team to lock him up in the winter,

Who knows? It has been fun so far and with 78 games to go…anything can happen!

President Obama to join Nationals rotation!

President Obama is starting for the Nationals in their home opener on April 5th. He will be relieved after one pitch, in order to build up his arm strength for the grueling season ahead. This unprecedented event, is the first signing of a President of the U.S. to a major league contract. The Illinois native will inevitably be the number 3 starter in the Washington Nationals rotation this year. The late signing gives the Nationals a nice looking lefty, righty, lefty 1-3 in their rotation. Nats fans everywhere are psyched of the new and improved rotation beginning with lannan, Marquis, Obama!!! Play Ball!

 

Spread the Word!LOL

National League East 2010

Just a quick entry since it has been a while i have posted anything, since the Mets signed Kiko Calero about a month ago. I figured a month or so when i wrote my previews and predictions that my opinion would vastly differ as opening day approached. However, my thoughts on the National League East remain the same in order of finish. Although the Braves do have better starting pitching than the Phillies, I do believe the Phils will prevail with a fourth straight division title. The Braves will be a close second and represent the National League wild card. I think the Mets may edge out the Marlins for third with the improved Nationals, sans Strassburgh finishing last. The top four teams may be separated by 9-10 games when all is said and done.For these teams to be at their best, the Phils need Cole Hammels to regain his form of two years ago. The Braves need health from Glaus and Chipper and a solid rookie season from Jason Heyward. The Mets need Reyes and Beltran to be healthy and for the starters to at least finish 6 innings. The Marlins need to vastly improve defensively and hope for Anibel Sanchez to remain healthy…and the Nats will improve based on their upgrades in the field as well as their signing of Jason Marquis alone.

Mets sign Calero

 The New York Mets upgraded their bullpen today by signing righthander Kiko Calero. Although, he does have a history of shoulder issues and even missed 18 games last year, he has low-risk, high-reward potential. Coming off a 2009 season with the Marlins, he was 2-2 with a 1.95 ERA and 69 K’s in 60 innings while giving up only one homer. The signing is for one year at $850,000 with performance bonuses equaling an additional $ 650,000. Good job, Omar!

Phillie Four-peat?

Well here we are again… spring training. With it comes a sense of optimism and hope for all teams, no matter how the year before played out. For this Philadelphia Phillie team, it isnt a stretch to expect good things for the upcoming season. This team is coming off of three straight NL East first place finishes and back-to-back World Series appearances. They are for the most part, an identical roster of the 2009 team but will it be enough to lead the division in 2010?

Their pitching rotation says good-bye to Cliff Lee who was great in the second half for the Phillies last year. He was downright dominant in the post-season in 2009 as well. But they did bring in arguably the best pitcher in the game in one, Roy” Doc” Halladay. If the Phillies had decided to keep Lee this team would have easily won 100-plus games this year. The rest of the rotation rounds out with apparently a now very hittable Cole Hammels, a young and consistent J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton and 47 year-old Jaimie Moyer. The rotation is not strong unless Hammels rediscovers himself. But with the offense this team brings to the plate once again they should get by with mediocre starting pitching.

This team can flat out rake! At home or on the road it doesnt matter. And clutch? Well, everytime i watch, they play the game intense and smart for 27 outs. This group is relentless and whatever they dont have in starting pitching aside from Halladay, they’ll make up for with their killer instinct and desire to win. No need to mention stats here. The lineup speaks for itself. Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Polanco and Ruiz. Bringing in Polanco was a great move and fits the Phillie mold. The defense is very solid all the way around, except maybe for Ibanez in left field.

The relief pitching is ok, but will be upgraded if both J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge can return to full strength from their injuries.

This team made minimal upgrades in the offseason, but may have done just enough to clinch a fourth straight division title. The Braves will definitely give them a run for their money  and make for an exciting finale to the regular season when the teams meet in Atlanta October 1-3.

Predicted Finish: First in the NL East (89-73)

Why hasn’t Kiko Calero been signed?

Just wondering. Since Kiko Calero had a
great 2009 season with the Florida Marlins, why hasn’t he
been scooped up yet? Yes he is 35 years old but was 2-2 with
a 1.95 ERA, 69 K in 60 IP and only allowed 36 hits and 1
homer!!! Is his price tag too high? Anyone with information
please let me know.Thanks!

Marlins aren’t small fish in a big pond anymore.

The Florida Marlins maybe a relatively young baseball team. But do not get the word,”young” confused with inexperienced. Dan Uggla is the oldest everyday player at 30. Hanley Ramirez the teams MVP is 26, John Baker and Jorge Cantu 28 and Cody Ross 29. Ricky Nolasco is their oldest starting pitcher at 27. The core has been together going into their fifth season and 2010 is the year they expect to take the next step…making the playoffs.

This team is a formidable home run hitting team with four solid run producers in Ramirez, Cantu, Uggla and Ross. They were second in the National league in hitting as well(.268). But the question will be their pitching and maybe even more, their defense.

They had solid starting pitching from 1 and 2 in the rotation in ’09 with Josh Johnson going 15-5 3.23 era in 209 IP and Ricky Nolasco 13-9, 195 K in 185 IP(though his era was a high 5.06). A healthy full-season from Anibel Sanchez would be greatly appreciated, but has a history of shoulder issues. But, when Sanchez is healthy he can be dominant. In nine starts after last years all-star break he had a 2.68 era. The other two spots are open for grabs but i suspect it will come down to Sean West, Chris Volstad and Rick VandenHurk. Their will be a spring training competition for bullpen spots except for Leo Nunez as their closer. He saved 26 of 33 last year after inheriting the job from Matt Lindstrom. Derrick Turnbow, Jose Veras as well as some others will compete for the set-up roll. Renyel Pinto as well as many others will try to fill the voids.

The defense was only better than the Diamondbacks and the Nationals last year, so that should be a focus this spring. Errors always lead to longer innings, more pitches and extra opportunities for the opposing team to score and for the Marlins to make the playoffs this year, this has to improve all the way around. They gave up the most stolen bases, turned the least amount of double-plays and had the lowest amount of assists.

Expectations are higher this year and they were in it late last year. I do believe this year it will come down to the final week, but may just fall short of the wildcard.

Prediction: Tied-Third Place in NL East(84-78).

Solid Rotation and bullpen, but questionable lineup

2010 for the Atlanta Braves can be a promising season. With a full season from Tim Hudson and a return of Derek Lowe, Jair Jurjjens, Tommy Hanson and Kenshin Kawakami their rotation is solid. The bullpen of Takashi Saito, Erik O’Flaherty, Peter Moylan, Jesse Chavez and Billy Wagner to close games out is also very solid. Their pitching will keep games close and present other teams matchup problems in the latter innings.

Their lineup has some questionmarks however. Nate McLouth batting leadoff with an OBP of .352 must get on base more. He did have laser surgery to correct his vision in the off season, so maybe he’ll become that guy they need to get on base. Chipper Jones can still contribute with the bat…when he’s on the field. You know their will be stretches this season that he will be nursing some injury and I dont know if the Braves can afford his absences. The projected cleanup hitter, Troy Glaus also missed practically the entire ’09 season and the Braves are hoping he’ll return to the 30+ home run hitter he has been along with switching from third base to first. Otherwise the bottom half of their lineup is quite good with Brian McCann, Yunel Escobar, Matt Diaz. Rookie Jayson Heyward is expected to make the team and play rightfield and bat eighth,as the Braves say bye-bye to Ryan Church who has never been the same following two concussions in a small period of time in 2008 with the Mets.

If Jones and Glaus remain healthy…look out! This team will be a force to reckon with. A solid full season from Hudson, a strong finish from Lowe and no sophomore jinx for Hanson will help this team contend to the end.

Projected Finish: 2nd Place NL East (88-74)**** National League Wild Card****