Part I the Mets
(1) Pedro Martinez is Done- Pedro and his coaches can say anything they want about how Jeter and Abreu may have noticed that the former Cy Young Award winner was tipping his pitches. It is very possible that two very savvy vets such as Derek and Bobby did indeed recognize something Martinez did to tip off which pitch was coming towards the glove of Ramon Castro. This does not excuse his horrid performance against the Yanks on Friday evening. Pedro was lambasted for 6 earned runs in 5.2 innings of work while his much maligned counterpart, Sidney Ponson, effectively worked into and out of several bases loaded jams en route to a 6 inning gem. Pedro’s fastball is topping out at 90 mph and his circle change does not have the same bite it once did. Pedro has consistently struggled this season having failed to register any quality starts since his first outing against the hapless Giants back in May.
(2) Jose Reyes is the boy who would not grow up- Reyes is a true five tool talent but also is hampered by an authentic 10 cent head. In a 24 hour span you saw exactly what makes Reyes a petulant child. Not only did he get picked off with 2 on and 2 out and the Mets best player, David Wright at the plate; his explanation after the game was a protestation that these things happen to a base-stealer. NOT WHEN DAVID WRIGHT IS UP WITH A CHANCE TO GIVE THE METS THE LEAD THEY DON’T! Oh and for good measure, Wright blasted a hr to lead off the bottom of the 6th to cut the Yankee lead to 3-2. Then, although I couldn’t see it from my seat at Shea Stadium, Reyes apparently threw his glove to the ground in disgust after making an error, not at himself, but at the official scorer giving him the error on a throw that Delgado admittinlgy could have easily caught. However, Mets fans have to stop defending this guy. He is 25 and he is getting less mature not more mature with age. He has a very low On Base Percentage and lately has cost his teams as many games as he has won for them. Grow up kid.
(3) The Mets will have a solid rotation for the next 5-10 years- Whether or not you believe that Santana has been a disappointment this season so far, the Mets are clearly setup for a solid top 3 in the rotation for the next decade or so. John Maine is evolving into a top line starter, Santana is still a great pitcher and Mike Pelfrey impressed me Friday afternoon. Yes, he gave up 4 runs in 5 innings but he could have given up so much more. He got huge strikeouts with men on base and 2 outs and limited the damage in many of the innings in which he struggled. Specifically, After the Mets put up a 3 spot in the top of the 5th, Pelfrey made it stand up by pitching a scoreless 5th which he capped off by getting the dangerous Jeter to ground out with 2 on and 2 men out. His fastball tops out in the mid 90s and he has excellent downward movement on it.
(4) David Wright is awesome- I don’t understand those who think David Wright is having a down year. He has 62 RBI’s, 62! This for a guy who hits in front of the lousy Louis Castillo and the aforementioned enigmatic Reyes. He is a run producing machine and he has great power to all fields. Outside of Manny and Ortiz, nobody scares me more as a Yankee fan more than this guy.
(5) The More the managers change, the more the Mets stay the same- For all of the talk that Manuel was a more vocal, animated and different kind of manager than Willie Randolph, he doesn’t have anything to show for it in the win-loss column. He is 6-7 as Mets manager so far. Given that the Mets were middling around the 500 mark when Willie was fired, I don’t see what has changed. Omar, upon firing Willie, had the gall and audacity to suggest that he put together a championship team. Well if that’s true Omar, I guess you just are horrible at picking managers. More likely though, you put together a flawed roster of poorly mixed and aged talent like Carlos Delgado (his obscene 9 RBI outburst on Friday aside), Pedro Martinez and Moises “I broke my arm watching TV” Alou. The Mets just are not that good, of course, as I will detail in part II, neither are the Yankees
Part II: The Yankees
(1) They can’t hit any lefty that can throw a fastball over 92 mph- I do, in all sincerity, tip my cap to Oliver Perez. He pitched an absolute gem of a ball game on Sunday holding the Yankees to only 1 run in 7 innings of work. However, Perez’s success in his Mets career vs. the Yankees says more about the poorly put together Yankees roster than it does about Perez himself. The Yankees lineup is absurdly left handed dominant. Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi and Robinson Cano, 4 of the most important players on the team, are all left handed. Melky Cabrera and Jorge Posada are stronger from the left side than they are from the right at least this season. This glaring weakness of the Yankees is further compounded when Girardi decides to concede the game before it starts by filling out a lineup card which features the featherweight hitting Jose Molina batting in the 7th hole. Simply put, this offense can only hit lefties who are junk-ballers but cannot hit lefties who throw hard like Perez.
(2) Daryl Rasner IS WHO I THOUGHT HE WAS!—Dennis Green’s hilarious rant aside, Rasner has shown himself to be a serviceable 5th starter, no more, no less. He has given the Yankees two respectable 5 inning 2 run performances sandwiched around a disastrous outing against Mahatma’s Buccos. 5 innings and 2 runs is about the best you can hope for from a 5th starter. Very few guys whose fastball tops out at 88 can be frontline starters and Rasner is clearly no exception. Still, Darryl has earned himself a spot in the rotation at least until Hughes comes back in August.
(3) Andy Pettite is a gamer- Although he is very streaky during the season, Andy Pettite seems to pitch best in the game’s tightest spots and in games where the spotlight shines brightest. His pickoff of Reyes in the 5th inning on Saturday as well as his willingness to come back out after a long rain delay speaks to Andy’s intensity and team commitment. Mussina has not and never will do that in his Yankee career.
(4) A-rod finally gets it- In a weird way; I was as impressed with A-rod after Sunday’s game as I have been by almost anything he has done in a Yankee uniform. A-rod took Sunday’s loss and carried the burden of it on his shoulders. Alex just missed hitting home runs on two long fly balls on Sunday, both of which would have tied the game. One went just foul into the upper deck and another just missed the wall in deep left field; the latter which would have tied the game against closer Billy Wagner in the 9th inning. When critics asked him about the C- team Girardi put on the field, he deflected the criticism onto himself by suggesting that if he had done his job and gotten those balls into the stands his team would have won the game. This is a very Jeterian, blame yourself when your team loses but don’t praise yourself when the team wins, type of move. I’m impressed Alex.
(5) “The Yankees are what their record says they are”- At 44-39, the Yankees are on pace to win about 88 games this season. This would probably have them on the outside looking in of a relatively tight playoff chase. The way Tampa has played this year; you would have to figure it will take at least 93 wins to make the post-season. Now last year the Yankees were not even approaching this season’s 88 win season clip at the half way point. However, that team had a healthy Chien Ming Wang and Hideki Matsui. That team did not have the aforementioned Rays to contend with. That team also had one of the all time great 2nd halves. That team also played great baseball at home and used Yankee stadium to help catapult them to long home winning streaks. This year’s team is just a hair over 500 at home and does not seem to have any ability to use that bottom of the 9th inning last licks ab’s to their advantage. Finally, this team has a manger who, although I still think he has the right stuff to be great, is conceding too many games to rest veterans. Given how close the pennant race figures to get; the Yankees may very well miss the playoffs by a game or two. Sure it is nice to say that, “in the past, Yankee teams were worn out by playoff time.” But you know what??? THOSE TEAMS GOT TO THE PLAYOFFS!! I hope Girardi realizes soon that every game is going to be huge the rest of the year. That is until another hugely important star player gets hurt rendering the rest of the year meaningless. Oy