If I were the Mets…

 

If I were Sandy Alderson, I would go get a third baseman. David Wright is reportedly out for at least the next 8 weeks with a herniated disk in his neck. And even if/when he is able to return to the lineup, there is no predicting if he will be healthy.

I do not think the Mets can rely on Wilmer Flores for the next 2+ months of baseball at third base. Through Friday, he is hitting .190. The Mets have scuffled over the last couple of weeks and went 14-15 in the month of May. Their offense was strong in the month of April as they were crushing home runs left and right as they hit 33 in April. The problem with relying on the home run ball is teams go through droughts where they do not hit them and then where does the offense come from. As a team, the Mets hit an MLB worst .211 in the month of May. The Mets have not hit as many home runs of late and the offense has struggled.

The solution for the Mets at third base is in LA. Yunel Escobar would be a great fit for the Mets. Escobar is hitting .307/.361/.412 and would bring a different dynamic to the Mets’ lineup. The Mets are first in the National League in home runs and Escobar is not known for his power. His strength is to put the ball in play and get on base. He has great bat control and would fit perfectly in the 2-hole for the Mets.

The Angels are in the basement of the American League West with a 25-29 and should become sellers soon. Their rotation has been decimated by injuries as C.J. Wilson, Andrew Heaney, and Garrett Richards all have serious injuries to their throwing arms. The Angels did not have a strong rotation coming into the season and now the rotation is a mess. The Angels are not going to compete in 2016 and need to begin rebuilding. Baseball America ranked the Angels’ farm system as the worst farm system in all of baseball coming into the 2016 season. The Angels do not have a ton of attractive pieces on their team but Escobar is definitely one of them. The time is now to start rebuilding that farm system.

I am not exactly sure what it would take to get a player like Escobar. Escobar will be a rental if the Mets were to make a deal. He does have a team option but it would be up to the Mets if they would want to keep him in New York. Would it take the first base prospect Dominic Smith or include RHP Seth Lugo in a package to bring Escobar to LA? I’m not sure but it is worth making a phone call. The Mets are blessed with brilliant, young pitching and they cannot afford to waste a year of this rotation. Matt Harvey is proving why it is important to take advantage of great pitching because you never know when a pitcher struggles or gets injured. The National League has so many bad teams and there are only a few teams that the Mets will have to compete with for a playoff spot. If they are serious about contending for a pennant, they have to go out and make a move to improve their offense. Yunel Escobar would be a great addition.

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Marlins Fans, COME ON!!

 

Yesterday, Jose Fernandez won his seventh straight start as he hurled 7 shutout innings and the Marlins beat the Pirates 3-1.

I am writing this to criticize Miami Marlin fans because there were only 10,637 fans watching this game yesterday. Yesterday’s game was pitched by two of the top young arms in baseball in Garrett Cole and Jose Fernandez. A pitching matchup like that is a treat for fans. It does not get much better than that. In my opinion, Jose Fernandez is must watch TV. Despite missing an entire season with TJ surgery, Fernandez has come back and I believe he is a top 5 pitcher in baseball. Right now, my top 5 are Kershaw, Arrieta, Sale, Bumgarner, and then Fernandez. There definitely are other pitchers in which an argument could be made for being in the top 5 but Fernandez is definitely in the conversation. So far this season, he is 8-2 with a 2.53 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and is 2nd in all of baseball with 96 strikeouts.

When I watch Fernandez, I see a dominant arm who pitches with extreme confidence. He has swagger on the mound and believes he will get the batter out. Fernandez is one of the most entertaining baseball players in the game and Miami fans should be taking every opportunity they get to go and watch him. I understand that going to watch a baseball game in Florida is not the most popular form of entertainment because both the Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays struggle to put fans in the stands. So far in the 2016 season, the Marlins rank 27th in attendance and the Rays are 29th. I also understand that the Marlins’ new ballpark often resembles a circus, especially with that awful green throughout the stadium. It does not seem like the best place to take in a baseball game, but if there is one game a week that Marlins fans should go to, it is when Fernandez pitches.

When I think of Jose Fernandez, I see comparisons to Felix Hernandez. King Felix has been one of the most dominant right-handed pitchers for the last decade and when he pitches, it is an event in Seattle. The King’s Court is one of the coolest scenes in all of baseball as an entire section of the stadium is there to cheer for the King. Whenever he has a strikeout opportunity, they wave K signs in the air and go crazy. Seattle does not have sellout crowds every night but when the King pitches, the ballpark has many more fans in the stands than other nights. I think there are similarities between King Felix and Fernandez as well. They have similar personalities as it is difficult to not root for both of these aces. They both came up at a young age and dominated and they are easily two of the game’s top arms.

I am not saying that Marlins fans need to go out and copy the King’s Court. What I am saying is going to watch Fernandez pitch is more than just going to a baseball game. Fernandez has the ability to do something special every night he steps onto the mound. If he stays healthy, Fernandez has the ability to have a very special career. So Marlins fans, I urge you that if you decide to go to one Miami game, go when Jose Fernandez is pitching. You won’t be disappointed.

 

A Nice Addition

 

Today the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Jason Grilli from the Atlanta Braves for pitching prospect Sean Ratcliffe. Grilli will be provide a veteran arm in a bullpen that has some young arms.

Grilli will be a four month rental for the Blue Jays but he does have a team option if the Blue Jays like what they see from the 39 year-old right-hander. If you look at Grilli’s numbers this season, they are less than stellar but pitching for the Atlanta Braves is not the most exciting thing to do. He will arrive in Toronto with a 5.29 ERA, 1.706 WHIP and an impressive 12.2 K/9. Grilli will get a fresh start in Toronto and will not be expected to be the guy as Toronto has an excellent young closer in Roberto Osuna. Drew Storen and Jessie Chavez have had subpar starts to the 2016 season and Grilli has an opportunity to provide more depth for the Toronto pen.

Sean Ratcliffe was drafted in the 18th round in the 2013 MLB draft and is still only 21 years-old. He has pitched in low A this season for the Toronto organization as a reliever.

Dave Roberts, WHY?

 

 

Being a Red Sox fan I will always have a special place in my heart for Dave Roberts but last night Dave Roberts almost cost the Dodgers the game against the Mets and the series.

I do not know why he would take Kershaw out of the game in the 8th inning to bring in another lefty. Kershaw was brilliant again last night as he only gave up 1 run in 7 and 2/3 innings. Roberts decided to take Kershaw out with Curtis Granderson coming to the plate. Granderson is a left-handed hitter and lefties are hitting .136 against Kershaw this season. Granderson led off the game with a double off of Kershaw and then grounded out and struck out. Now the announcers on Sunday night baseball were talking about fatigue and that his pitch count was at 114. If Roberts took Kershaw out because he was at 114 pitches, that is an absolute joke. Kershaw is by far the best pitcher in baseball and I think he has proven himself by now. If Kershaw would have thrown 120 pitches to get Granderson, so be it. Roberts decided to go to the left-hander Adam Liberatore. I don’t care if lefties are hitting .138 against him, there is no way I would take out Kershaw to bring in another lefty to face Granderson. NO WAY!

Now the only way I would have even considered taking out Kershaw last night was to put in Kenley Jansen. Jansen has been excellent against both righties and lefties this season and encourages his manager to use him for more than one inning. I liked the shot of Jansen shaking his head as he went to sit down in the pen after Liberatore gave up the game-tying triple. So many people believe in playing matchups but in moments like last night, I want my best versus their best.

Luckily for Roberts and the Dodgers, the Dodgers retook the lead in the 9th inning on an Adrian Gonzalez 2-run single. I hope Roberts learned his lesson and next time leaves Kershaw in the game.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Review: Mariners Disappoint

 

My biggest take away from this weekend is that every time I begin to buy that the Seattle Mariners are for real, they have a weekend like this past weekend. The Mariners were swept at home against the Minnesota Twins. The Twins came into the series with only 12 wins on the season. The Mariners even had their ace on the mound in Felix Hernandez and he got bombed in the 3rd inning as he gave up 5 runs Friday night. Miguel Sano and Joe Mauer led the way for the Twins in the series as both of them homered in every game in the series. Now every team in baseball is going to have a bad weekend and get swept. But the fact that the Mariners got swept by the worst team in the American League is a problem. These are the type of series that you circle on a schedule and believe you can begin to build some momentum going into the next week. Now they have the task of trying to rebound from a difficult weekend and luckily they welcome the San Diego Padres into town. I am going to have to see a lot more of the Mariners this year before I buy stock in the Mariners.

 

  • Jake Odorizzi pitched into the 7th inning with a no-hitter before Starlin Castro hit a 2-Run Home Run to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Teams who have had pitchers throw 1-hitters this season are 3-3. I guess if you only get 1 hit, make it count like the Yankees did on Sunday.
  • Dodgers are 10-1 when Clayton Kershaw pitches and 17-23 when the other starters pitch.
  • Dallas Keuchel beat the Los Angeles Angels and got the win for the first time since April 15th. Now wins do not tell the entire story but his 7 starts in between wins looked like this: 6 ER, 5 ER, 5 ER, 2 ER, 8 ER 3 ER, and 7 ER. The Astros rotation has been awful this season and the Astros need Keuchel to start pitching like the guy who won the CY last season.
  • The White Sox are in trouble. After a strong April, the White Sox are no longer in 1st place in the American League Central. Their bullpen blew 3 straight leads, leads of 4, 6, and 2, as they got swept by the Kansas City Royals. I would be worried if I were a White Sox fan right now.

 

 

Right or Wrong?

 

In tonight’s game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers, Noah Syndergaard was ejected for throwing behind Chase Utley. It was clear that Syndergaard was trying to get revenge for Utley’s slide that broke Ruben Tejada’s leg.

This is a topic that really bothers me with today’s game. I still have some of those old-school roots in me but I also like some of the new ideas in the game today. Despite what my brother believes, I have no problem for the Mets trying to get a little revenge from last year’s post-season. What bothers me is how they went about it. The Mets and Dodgers had a 4 game series in Los Angeles and Chase Utley had 14 at-bats without being hit. Noah Syndergaard even faced Chase Utley 4 times in one of those games. So if Syndergaard felt an obligation to get justice for his former teammate, should he not have done this in LA? Why did the Mets wait for the 6th game and 18 at-bats versus Chase Utley to finally hit him? That bothers me. Syndergaard is one of the hardest throwers in all of baseball as he has thrown more fastballs of 98+ than half of the teams in baseball. Syndergaard cannot throw at a player when he throws that hard when he is not expecting to be hit. Utley had to feel like the Mets would try to get revenge in LA. But after 18 at-bats, the idea of getting hit intentionally was probably the farthest thing from his mind. What if Syndergaard would have missed badly with a fastball up and in and Utley was expecting a fastball on the outside corner instead of getting hit? Bad things happen when guys who throw that hard go seeking for revenge.

Whatever viewpoint you have about getting revenge or not in baseball, Syndergaard deserved to get thrown out. According to the rule, the umpire had every right to throw him out because there was clear intent. So was it worth it? The Mets had to use their bullpen very early, may lose the game, and Syndergaard is likely to receive a suspension. Thoughts?

Did the Yankees Salvage their Season?

 

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how the Yankees were about to enter a crucial stretch of games and at the time, they were buried in the basement of the American League East. Looking back at the last 17 days for the Yankees, they had an impressive stretch.
3 out of 4 against the Royals
2 out of 3 against the White Sox
1 out of 3 against the Diamondbacks
4 game sweep of the A’s
Lost 2 out of 3 to the Blue Jays
They have an 11-6 record during that time and ultimately may have saved their season. Remember, after the Yankees lost two out of three against the Red Sox, Alex Rodriguez went on the DL with a hamstring injury and shortly after that C.C. Sabathia went on the DL as well. During this important stretch, a few players for the Yankees have really stepped up. The first player who stepped up has been Carlos Beltran. Beltran looked like a player who was playing like a 39 year-old in April. Once Rodriguez went down and Beltran was moved to the DH, he began hitting like the Carlos Beltran that the Yankees gave a huge contract to 3 years ago. Over the past 14 games, he has hit .302/.340/.628 with 3 HR and 14 runs batted in. He has been a huge factor in the middle of the Yankee lineup.
Another big performer over the past few weeks has been C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia did spend 15 days on the disabled list but over his past three starts has looked like the C.C of old. He has thrown 20 innings only allowing 11 hits and 1 earned run with 21 strikeouts. That equals a 0.45 ERA and a great sign for the Yankees going forward.
The biggest addition to this team over that past three weeks has been Aroldis Chapman. Chapman was suspended for the first 6 weeks of the season for a domestic abuse incident. Chapman has allowed Girardi to manage his pen to shorten games. The big three in the pen have been outstanding since Chapman has arrived. In Dellin Betances’s last 12 games, he has pitched to a 1.64 ERA and opponents are hitting .179 with 20 strikeouts. In Andrew Miller’s last 10 games, he has pitched to a 1.86 ERA and opponents are hitting .211 with 18 strikeouts. Since debuting with the Yankees, Aroldis Chapman has pitched in 8 games and has a 2.25 ERA and opponents are hitting .200 with 11 strikeouts.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, the Red Sox have gone 11-5 during the same stretch and the Yankees are currently 6.5 games back in the American League East. For the Yankees, the worry is not about winning the division in May but the worry was to dig themselves such a big hole that they cannot climb out of it. They have weathered the storm and 6.5 games in May is nothing to worry about. There are still a lot of questions that the Yankees will have to answer during the final four months of the season. They are an older team and a lot of their players are injury prone. But the Yankees deserve a lot of credit for how they have played over the past three weeks.