Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mets choke on their Home Cooking this past week

Spring Training - Tradition Field - Jonathan Niese
Spring Training - Tradition Field - Jonathan Niese (Photo credit: wallyg)
Wendy Adair

As the Mets are starting their road trip to Miami and Atlanta this next week, all we can say is that they could not get out of town fast enough, they lost five of six games this past week at home.

The Los Angeles Dodgers took two of three from the first series and the one game that the Mets did manage to win was on a Jordany Valdespin walk off Grand Slam

This afternoon the Philadelphia Phillies just completed their sweep of the Mets.  When you only have three hits in a game, like the Mets did today, there will be very few victories unless they are all Home Runs.  David Wright drove in Ruben Tejada with an RBI single in the first inning, that was it, the rest of the game showed no offensive prowess by the Mets hitters.

All around, this team has not played fundamentally sound baseball, they are making too many errors and their bullpen has been overutilized and poorly managed by Terry Collins.  One thing that has been a bright spot is the team's hustle, they are taking the extra bases whenever possible and this has the opposing pitchers and infielders on constant alert.

In order to prevent further damage to their standings in the NL East, the Mets MUST win at least four of the next six games against the Marlins and the Braves.  While the Marlins are about equal to the Mets in talent, the Braves have been blowing everyone away, especially the Upton Brothers.

Here is to some great road rations this coming week, Lets Go Mets, get it together, fans are actually starting to not even care about this team, they are way past frustration. 
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Friday, April 19, 2013

New York Mets vs Washington Nationals: Rapid Fire Series Preview Interview

Frank Gray
MM Editor

The last week has been very cold and very frustrating for the New York Mets. With three days of postponed games, a double header that they were swept in and a fourth game not even played, the Mets are happy to return home to thaw out.

That is the good news. The bad news is they face off with Washington Nationals and their dominant pitching staff all weekend. The Mets need to forget the past week and be equal to the task if they are to get back on track.

To help us put this upcoming series into proper perspective, we turn to our friends at "Centerfield Gate". We asked this wonderful Nationals blog our five questions. Here's what they had to say.

MM- What is the biggest news story for your team entering this series?

CG- The biggest news for Nats fans is the puzzlingly poor fielding play of Ryan Zimmerman. The normally steady Zimmerman has been unsteady, and Nats fans are waiting for him to turn himself around. Is his shoulder injured -- or is he just going through an early season fielding slump. This series will answer that question.

MM- Who is the one pitcher due to break out in this series?

CG- Gio Gonzalez has been inconsistent, and this from a hurler who defines consistency. He needs a good outing against the Mets, and a good year for the Nationals to win the NL East,

MM- Who should the Mets be afraid to face right now and why?

CG- That's easy: Jordan Zimmermann. In an up-and-down early going, everyone on the Nationals has seemed to have an off day. Not Zimmermann: he's been lights out,

MM- Who on the Mets are your fans most interested in seeing and why?

CG- Hmmm. Well, I don't know about Nats fans, but I want to see Matt Harvey. He's the one young thrower on the Mets that will define the New Yorkers in the years ahead. And every time I see him, I think 'God, I wish we had him',

MM- What are your predictions for this series and why?

CG- The Nationals are struggling and the Mets are rebuilding, but were playing well. I think the Nationals will take the series, but they won't be as dominating as pre-season pundits predicted.

***For more from Centerfield Gate, please click here***

Thursday, April 18, 2013

This Week in Mets History 1-14: King Kong, Tom Terrific and Pedro Martinez

Frank Gray
MM Editor

The New York Mets are finishing up a frigid and dismal road trip today in Colorado. With such cold moments from this series to remember, now seems as good of a time as any to warm ourselves up with warm memories from yeas past.

This week, we reminisce about Tom Seaver notching a historic win, Dave Kingman hitting a blast that should be consider breaking and entering, Pedro Martinez and Gary Sheffield reaching milestones on the same date,  David Wright leading the Mets to a home run derby in Philly and much more.

April 14, 1976 - The Mets visit the rival Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field. Mets RF Dave Kingman launches a home run that measured 530 ft. What was more impressive was that his moonshot hit a house! The house and the Cubs both survived, however, as they beat the Mets 6-5 that day.

April 17, 1964 - After two years in existence, the Mets have a home of their own. The team says goodbye to the Polo Grounds and hello to the sparkling new Shea Stadium. The first game in their new home drew 50,312 fans as the Mets hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates defeated the home team 4-3 as Willie Stargell becomes the first player to homer in Shea Stadium history.

April 17, 2006 - After years of dominating batters in Montreal and Boston, Pedro Martinez accumulates 200 career wins while playing for the Mets. At the time, he becomes only the 103rd MLB pitcher to record 200 wins. In front of 36,867 fans, the Mets defeat the Atlanta Braves 4-3.

April 17, 2009 - Being recently released by the Detroit Tigers, Gary Sheffield finds himself in Queens seeking the illusive 500th home run of his career. He finally finds it at Citi Field as a pinch hitter and as a Mets player. He becomes only the third player to homer as a teenager and as a 40 year old, joining Ty Cobb and former Mets great, Rusty Staub.

April 19, 2005 - The Mets have always had unique games in Philadelphia. A game on this date was  no different. The Mets blasted their way to a club record seven home runs. The barrage of long balls features Mike Piazza, Jose Reyes and Doug Mientkiewicz, among others, with David Wright sealing the deal with a grand slam in the seventh. The Mets crush the Phillies 16-4.

April 20, 1967 - It is said that every mighty tree begins as a seed. The same is true for great players. On his way to a Hall of Fame career, Tom Seaver recorded 311 wins in his Major League career. Most of them (198) were with the Mets. On this day, against the Chicago Cubs, he recorded his very first one. Seaver goes 7 2/3 while giving up only one run en route to career win number one.

April 20. 2006 - Just days after Pedro Martinez etches his name into the history books, Julio Franco gets his turn in the historical spotlight. The Mets are on the road in San Diego. Julio Franco launches a pinch hit home run as the Mets defeat the Padres 7-2.  Franco becomes the oldest player in MLB history to hit a home run at 47 years and 240 days old.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We still like Ike! Dont give up Mets fans, the season is still very young

Wendy Adair

Ike Davis is off to another sluggish and non productive start and many fans are getting impatient.  While his hitting struggles are no doubt frustrating, the season is just over two weeks old and they have only played eleven games.

He is currently hitting .128 with 1 HR and 2 RBIs, combine that with 12 Ks and Mets fans are dreading his every at bat. April statistics are very misleading, so as long as they improve during May and June, I think most fans would be happy if he was hitting even .250 with 10 HR and 30 RBI's by mid-June.

What bothers me more than his production numbers is his arguing with the umpires when disputing the strike zone.

Yes, he is entitled to his emotions and opinions, but he is not doing himself or his teammates any favors by arguing so fiercely when he does not have the numbers to support his stance on the strike zone.  

Some players are notorious slow starters, but end up carrying the team during the dog days of July and August, so I would not give up hope on Ike this early in the season.

Ike, we still love you and believe  in you, please give us a reason to cheer for your second half again like last year.

Monday, April 15, 2013

New York Mets vs Colorado Rockies: Rapid Fire Series Preview Interview

Frank Gray
MM Editor

After the in-climate weather in Minnesota this past weekend, the Mets travel further west to Denver to take on the Colorado Rockies. Weather will be the biggest story in this series as well. Each game of the four game set comes with a chance of snow or rain. Hopefully, the baseball gods smile down upon these teams and allow the games to proceed as scheduled.

Should this happen, it will be an interesting series. Both teams are off to good starts and both have young talent that can be exciting to watch. With that said, we turn to our friend David Martin at Rockies Review for our Rapid Fire segment.

MM- What is the biggest news story for your team entering this series?  

DM- The biggest news story for the 2013 Colorado Rockies right now is their early season success. This is a team that some experts were predicting to lose well over 100 games. It is early, but the Rockies have gotten out of the gates quickly.

Their offensive firepower has been far greater than anyone expected. Their lineup, top to bottom, is very potent. They have scored the most runs in the National League West so far this season, and they have hit more home runs than any team as well. All of that has been done while only playing three games at Coors Field.

MM- Who is the one pitcher due to break out this series?

DM- I am not sure there is necessarily a pitcher who is due to break out this series. The Rockies pitching staff is the biggest question mark that this team faces. The starters set all sorts of records last season with their struggles.

There is talent there, Juan Nicasio, Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa and Jon Garland are all very good pitchers, however they are all coming off of injuries that essentially washed out their 2012 seasons, making them question marks for success in 2013. The majority of analysts suggest that the Rockies pitching staff is one of the worst in the league. However, their early season success might suggest otherwise.

MM- Who should the Mets be afraid to face and why?

DM- The national media would suggest that the Mets should be afraid to face Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki and not give any thought to anyone else in the Rockies lineup. If that happens, the Mets will be hurting. Dexter Fowler is having a baffling early season stretch where suddenly the leadoff hitter who has occasional pop is hitting balls into the upper deck at Petco Park.

Fowler is hitting .298 so far, notching six home runs and nine RBIs. The crazy thing about Fowler's success has been that he is doing it from the left side of the plate, a place where most Rockies fans were insisting was the weakest part of the switch-hitters game.

MM- Who on the Mets are your fans most interested in seeing and why?

DM- Rockies fans are going to have a unique Met that they are interested in seeing come to Coors Field. The citizens of Denver are a tight-knit group and they love to see one of their own succeed, therefore, everyone in Colorado is rooting for Kirk Nieuwenhuis to succeed.

Nieuwenhuis attended Denver Christian High School and grew up in the Denver area. His success in the big leagues makes him a hero to many in the area. Fans in Denver will be thrilled to see one of their own in the big leagues.

MM- What are your predictions for this series and why?  

DM- This series is extremely difficult to predict. The Mets and the Rockies have both been hitting the ball out of the park like crazy. However, as the Mets seem to be used to, the weather is going to be terrible.

Denver is expected to get four inches of snow on Monday morning, and the temperatures aren't going to get above 35 degrees for the entire series. That means that in all likelihood, at least one of the games will be postponed, and there could easily be a doubleheader involved somewhere. Playing baseball in cold weather always makes for a difficult prediction.

However, the Rockies are determined to turn Coors Field into a home field advantage again, something they haven't done well at the past few years. If the games are played as scheduled, I believe the Rockies will win three of four. If the weather becomes an issue, the series could easily be split.

***For more from Rockies Review, please click here***

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Interleague play In April? In the Snow? Yes and the Mets bats heated up last night

Wendy Adair

Well Mets fans., the season is not even two weeks old and we have already played a west coast team for the opening series and now the team is in Minnesota playing the Twins.

It is no secret that I am so against interleague play, and especially the DH, but I have to admit that I loved seeing the Mets romp the Twins  16-5 last night in cold and snowy Minneapolis.  I would rather have the season be shortened by 15-20 games each year and do away with interleague play, I am a firm believer in NL play and seeing the DH in effect for our team, especially in April, holds no appeal for me.

When interleague play normally takes place, in June, yes, sometimes the position players would benefit from only hitting and being able to rest and get off their feet for most of the game, but I do believe in pitchers helping their own causes with the bat.

I am very happy that the Mets and Yankees will meet four games this season compared to the usual six, it tends to get ridiculous with obnoxious Yankee fans who tend to be fair weathered and think that they do inferior teams a favor by letting them play in their stadium.

 In general they can be tough to take over the long season, but to be fair , there are some who are decent and respectful.  New York fans as a rule are very tough on their players, that is understood, but there is no reason to bash these athletes out of pure malice and jealousy in some cases.

Ok my rant is over, whew!!, thanks for listening, now on to the individual segment of this article.

John Buck has been more incredible than words can possibly describe with his production thus far, while no one can expect it to last forever, the Mets are riding him while he is red hot.

David Wright had a rare tough series in Philadelphia the middle of the week, ending the series 0 for 8, but  he rebounded last night with 3 hits and 4 RBIs, taking sole possession of the Mets Franchise Interleague Play RBI Leader with 93 in his career.

Jonathan Niese had a tough time with the cold weather but still gutted out 5 innings, so he is to be commended for that, the Mets will need solid contributions from him all season with the absence of Johan Santana.

Ike Davis continues to struggle, but it is clear that the Mets believe that he is a valuable member of the present and future team so for now they are riding things out waiting for him to start producing and driving in tons of runs.

Friday, April 12, 2013

New York Mets vs Minnesota Twins: Rapid Fire Series Preview Interview

Frank Gray
MM Editor

In hopes of shaking off an abysmal series in Philadelphia and the first leg of their road trip, the Mets head westward into the eye of the wintry storm that is hitting the midwest. Their destination? Minnesota.

The Twins are coming off of a horrible road series of their own as they were swept in Kansas City by the red hot Royals. They only scored four runs in the entire series.

It is with the two struggling teams playing in cold weather serving as a backdrop that we turn to Twins blogger Jesse Lund of "Twinkie Town" to give us a deeper look at the Twins in our five question series preview.

MM- What is the biggest news story for your team entering this series? 

JL- Right now it's probably the magic act being performed by Kevin Correia. Most of us expect it all to come crashing down any moment now. Well, it's either that or the debate over whether the Twins made the right decision in awarding the center field job to Aaron Hicks. Some fans are questioning whether it would have been better to leave him in Triple-A to start the season, since he's never played above Double-A.

MM- Who is the one pitcher due to break out this series? 

JL- I think it'll be Vance Worley. I only say that because, if you've taken a stroll through our rotation options, there aren't many breakout candidates. Worley is due for a good start since he's had one decent outing and one pretty discouraging outing.

MM- Who should the Mets be afraid to face and why? 

JL- Pedro Florimon has been making a habit of being the proverbial thorn-in-your-side, but outside the Mauer-Morneau-Willingham trinity it's also a good idea to keep an eye out for Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee. Both can generate some power while being works-in-progress. If the Minnesota offense is going to generate runs, both of these guys will need to contribute in the six and seven holes.

MM- Who on the Mets are your fans most interested in seeing and why?

JL- David Wright is a stud. I'd say Johan Santana but that has to be a sore point for all parties. It'll be nice to see old friend LaTroy Hawkins once or twice. If there's one pitcher I want to see though, it's Matt Harvey.

MM- What are your predictions for this series and why? 

JL- Both teams are at a point where they really just want to get as many wins under their belt right now as possible, because there's no guarantee of how many they'll be able to pick up later this summer. But the Twins' offense has been soft so far this season and I like New York's starters in this series, so I'm giving the Mets two games and Minnesota one.

***To read more of Jesse's work or Twinkie Town, please click here***

Thursday, April 11, 2013

This Week in Mets History 1-13: Kid Carter, Tommy Agee, Jerry Grote and Mets Historic Openers

Mets catcher Gary Carter celebrates a home run. Photo courtesy  AP

Frank Gray
MM Editor

After the first week or so in the books, Mets catchers are a hot topic. John Buck led the National League in RBI at one point and is forcing the Mets to make the decision to call up Travis d'Arnaud that much harder.

With Mets catchers currently being a popular issue, it comes as no surprise that this week we celebrate several key moments from Mets catchers. Among them, we reminisce about Gary Carter celebrating his birthday with a major bang and Jerry Grote making fireworks of his own.

Not to be outdone, Tommy Agee shows us that catchers aren't the only ones that can hit historic home runs as his moonshot earns a special honor. All this and the tales of the Mets opening season, this week in Mets history.

April 8, 1988 - The New York Mets faced off with the Phillies at Veteran's Stadium. It was Mets catcher Gary Carter's birthday. On this date, Carter went 3-3 and had the only run scored for the Mets that day as he went deep. It was a bittersweet memory, though, as he was doubled off second base after Howard Johnson lined out in the 5-1 loss.

April 9, 1985 - After the Mets acquire Gary Carter in the off season, his addition pays off immediately. Opening Day, the Mets battled the St Louis Cardinals into extra innings. In the home half of the tenth inning, the All Star Catcher hits a walk-off homer to lift the Mets to a 6-5 win as a proper introduction to New York.

April 10, 1969 - Looking to bounce back from a disastrous '68 season, Tommy Agee launches an upper deck home run at Shea Stadium against the Montreal Expos. It would be the longest home run in Shea Stadium history. The spot where the ball landed would be commemorated by a plaque in the upper decks of the stadium.

April 11, 1962 - After several years of anticipation, the New York Mets franchise opens up their first season of existence. In their first attempt at National League baseball, the Mets first scheduled game was postponed due to rain and players being stuck in an elevator. Yes, you read that right. The Mets made their debut against the St Louis Cardinals on this date. They were rocked 11-4.

April 11, 1971 - The Mets were looking for offense against the Cincinnati Reds. In a scoreless duel lasting 11 innings, they found it in the person of Jerry Grote. The two-time All Star catcher ended the tight contest with a game ending shot off of Reds reliever Wayne Granger. The Mets win 1-0.

April 13, 1962 - It is a bitter cold winter-like day at the Polo Grounds when the National League baseball returns to New York in the form of the New York Mets. With just 12,000 fans in attendance for the big premiere of Mets baseball, the team fought the Pittsburgh Pirates hard on a Friday the 13th.

Perhaps the results were a premonition to the season that would come. In a 3-3 game, Mets reliever Ray Diavault uncorks two wild pitches and gives up the decisive run that helps the Mets fall to the Pirates 4-3.

April 13, 2012 - Thole was not known for his base running skills. Perhaps the events of this date are a good reason why. While playing the Philadelphia Phillies in Philly, he caught everyone by surprise when he advances on a sacrifice bunt attempt by R.A. Dickey and then attempted to return to first base. He would be tagged out and the double play would officially go down as a 3-1-6-4 double play. The Mets did win the game, though, 5-2.

Monday, April 8, 2013

New York Mets vs Philadelphia Phillies: Rapid Fire Series Preview Interview

Frank Gray
MM Editor

As the Mets continue their first tour of the NL Est this season, they visit the Philadelphia Phillies. To get us better prepared for the series, Mets Menu turns to Alec Snyder. Mr Snyder is a Featured Columnist for the Phillies at Bleacher Report. He knows his team inside and out. For this intense rivalry, he is the perfect source to ask our rapid fire questions to. Here's the result.

MM - What is the biggest news story for your team entering this series?

AS - I think the biggest news story at this point for the Phillies remains Roy Halladay’s potential velocity and command concerns. Despite topping out at a surprisingly high 92 mph last start and striking out nine batters in just 3.1 innings (becoming the first pitcher to do so since 1900), he walked three batters and of the 95 pitches he threw before being taken out, only 55 were for strikes.

In addition, he threw many more offspeed pitches and was reluctant to throw many cutters and sinkers. Unlike last year, when he actually started out with a very dominant April following a disastrous spring training, Doc seems to be starting out slow. Is this a sign of a season full of problems for Halladay, or can this just be attributed to still gaining a feel for pitching this season? Knowing Halladay’s work ethic, the former unfortunately seems more likely, but considering it’s still early in the season, anything is possible.

MM - Who is the one pitcher due to break out this series?

AS - If not Halladay, who’s due to break out whenever he can, then Kyle Kendrick, who starts on Thursday against Jeremy Hefner. Kendrick had an encouraging second half of the 2012 MLB season and the hope has been that his string of success would carry over into 2013. With a big dropoff in ability after the Phillies’ big three (or big two if Halladay fails to maintain a high level of production), Kendrick will need to step up and be able to shut down lineups on a consistent basis throughout the season.

While he wasn’t able to do that the entire game on Friday in the Phillies’ home opener against Kansas City, he was flat-out dominant for 4.1 innings before everything went downhill. If Kendrick can take his potential and see his next start as an opportunity to maintain that potential for a longer tenure throughout the game, good things could happen. I wouldn’t put it past him, either—despite a 5-7 record against the Mets all-time, Kendrick has a career 3.56 ERA against them to his credit.

MM - Who should the Mets be afraid to face and why?

AS - The Mets should be shaking in their boots to face Cliff Lee, hands-down. Lee tossed a gem against an Atlanta Braves lineup last Wednesday night that didn’t look major league worthy against him. Averaging a strikeout an inning and issuing no walks in eight two-hit shutout innings, Lee saw nothing faze him.

While expectations have always been high for Lee as he’s a proven ace in the majors, he’s a dark horse to be the Phillies’ best pitcher in 2013. With a career 4-1 record with a 2.09 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 56 strikeouts in 56 innings (9.0 K/9), Lee should be even better against the Mets than he was against Atlanta, if that’s humanly possible.

MM - Who on the Mets are your fans most interested in seeing and why?

AS - Maybe I’m alone in this, but I think I speak for most educated Phillies fans when I say that Matt Harvey intrigues me more than anyone else on the Mets. I’m not trying to say this in a demeaning way, but with the Mets lineup, you pretty much know what you’re getting with everyone. Harvey faced off against Phillies minor league pitcher Tyler Cloyd in late August last season when both were making their MLB debuts, and while both looked solid, Harvey looked better.

Considering he has more potential as a pitcher than Cloyd, it came as no surprise, but he’s got a bright future ahead of him. After an incredible performance against San Diego, I’m curious to see if Harvey can build on his momentum on the road against a Phillies lineup that carries more of an offensive threat, at least on paper. He’s going to be fun to watch in the years to come. Mets fans should be excited about him.

MM - What are your predictions for this series and why?

AS - I don’t think Halladay’s going to be nearly as bad against the Mets as he was against Atlanta since he’s at home and has a better track record against New York. However, I’m expecting a solid performance from Matt Harvey that could shut the offense down and I’ll give the Mets a 4-3 victory.

Cliff Lee should topple the Mets’ lineup, so even if the Phillies don’t score many runs against Dillon Gee, they should be able to defeat the Mets. I’ll predict the final score of that game to be 3-1 Phillies.

Game 3 of the series is more of a toss up, as both Kendrick and Hefner can be either lights-out or can blow a game in the blink of an eye. I’m predicting an above average performance by Hefner, but I think the Phillies will provide more run support for Kendrick than the Mets will for Hefner.

I think it could come down to the bullpens, and since the Mets still have a below-average bullpen, I’ll give the edge to the Phillies, assuming Charlie Manuel plays his cards right (which can’t necessarily be assumed at all). I think the Phillies win their first series of the year with a 4-2 victory over the Mets in Game 3.

***For more of Alec Snyder's work please click here****

Saturday, April 6, 2013

My take on Fandom and Twitter

Wendy Adair

And now for something completely different...

Instead of making this about the Mets players performance, I am devoting this post to fans interacting with celebrities and professional athletes, something I am very much in favor of and truly enjoy the experience.

My list of people that I follow on Twitter is downright ridiculous but you know what, I have a blast interracting with people that I have never spoken to face to face.  Pauley Perrette and Michael Weatherly of NCIS, Peter Gallagher and Christopher Gorham of Covert Affairs are all very engaging,  I have had several tweet conversations with all of them.

Justin Turner and Matt Harvey of the Mets are two of my favorite people to interract with, and now they even have Dillon Gee on Twitter with the fans.

They love posting pictures and encouraging fans for Q & A sessions during their down times, waiting for a plane, or even a long bus ride.

Even things such as asking advice for stadium music or twitter pictures is something that these guys ask from their fans and followers, they truly enjoy putting pictures on instagram and sharing it with their followers.

Some players are too private and would not go on Twitter, and that is fine, that is their feeling on the topic.  Other celebs may not interract because lets face it, people can be cruel and abusive if they are so inclined, and that ruins the dynamic of this person putting themself out there for the public.

Josh Thole, now in the Toronto Blue Jays system, was on Twitter but many fans were beyond cruel to him, criticizing and personal bashing, which is uncalled for, it is a shame that people can be such keyboard cowards.

I say that because they use Twitter and other social media outlets to say nasty things to people that they would  never have the nerve to say to their face, so they hide behind the keyboard and try to stir up trouble.  This is very counterproductive, although all users can block and restrict people who are abusive, it really ruins the dynamic of cyber relationships.

Well have a great day everyone, Lets Go Mets and fry some fish!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

New York Mets vs Miami Marlins: Rapid Fire Series Preview Interview

Frank Gray
MM Editor

The New York Mets prepare to face off with the Miami Marlins in their second series of the new season. Mets Menu would like to introduce a new preview segment to the blogging world. It's not your typical series preview.

Each series we will try to preview the match up by interviewing a blogger from the opposing team. This helps to give a good perspective from their fans and see how the Mets and their players are viewed outside of our loyal fanbase.

On a personal note, before I begin, I realize that the Mets have already taken two out of three vs the Padres. We, here at Mets Menu, will try to get bloggers from the opposition to respond. In the case of that series, we were unable to get a commitment from a Padres blogger.

This may be a reoccurring theme this season, so please just enjoy the ones that can be posted. For this series, we have reached out to Ted Hill of "Marlins Diehards". Mr Hill was kind enough to reply and the following is the result.

MM - What is the biggest news story for your team entering this series? 

TH - The biggest takeaway from the Marlins first couple games is how inept the offense has been. They've gone eighteen scoreless innings with just seven hits. I think most fans would have thought the pitching (especially starters) would be the biggest deficiency in the team this year but it's looking like scoring runs will prove to be a massive hurdle. Granted it's a ridiculously small sample size, the bats may very well wake up in New York, but if they don't, the fan unrest will grow considerably (from an already astronomical level).

MM - Who is the one pitcher due to break out this series? 

TH - Maybe not breakout per se, but Marlins fans are very excited to see Jose Fernandez's big league debut in the series finale on Sunday. He along with Christian Yelich are the club's biggest prospects. Jose really should not be anywhere near the majors yet (hasn't pitched above A-ball), but due to a wrath of injuries late in the Spring, the club has given him a big opportunity. He has a very live fastball and mixes in a few other decent pitches so he has the stuff to succeed. The question will be if he knows how to pitch, and navigate a true MLB lineup.

MM - Who should the Mets be afraid to face and why? 

TH - Giancarlo Stanton. Sure he's had a rough start thus far (1-7 with 3 K, also didn't do much for USA at the WBC) but he's the only thing resembling a star on this Marlins roster. At any point he can catch fire and launch balls deep into the seats or plant them in the gaps. The Mets would be wise to pitch him carefully, especially depending on the situation and if there is an open base. Other than that, attack this ragtag squad.

MM - Who on the Mets are your fans most interested in seeing and why? 

TH - Probably John Buck, just for anger purposes. He was god awful in Miami in his two years (especially last season's .192 clip at the plate) and when he found his way to New York this year, everyone down here was thrilled. I know he's had a nice start at the plate but I'd caution all of you guys to think he can maintain this. His numbers may rebound some but his offensive production will still be limited and he doesn't offer much defensively. Marlins fans will take great pleasure seeing him K this series. Other than that, I know a lot of people in Miami LOVE David Wright, only because he's good looking, so they'll be looking forward to seeing his beautiful face on their HDTVs.

MM - What are your predictions for this series and why? 

TH - Mets sweep. Hard for me to believe the Marlins will win any game judging on what we've seen thus far. I know they will, but can't predict it. Perhaps they grab one game if Ricky Nolasco can repeat his Opening Day quality start, or if Jose Fernandez dazzles.

****For more from Miami Diehards, please click here. For more Mets Menu, please follow us on facebook by clicking here. Thank you.****

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2013 Mets Team Awards Predictions

Shale Briskin
MM Assistant Editor

The 2013 Mets may not have any favorites to win any major National League awards. But that doesn't mean we can't see what the awards would look like amongst all the Mets. Here is what the list of recipients would most likely consist of.

Team MVP: David Wright

Ike Davis may put the best home run and RBI numbers on the team, but once again, David Wright will be Mets' MVP for a reason.

Throughout his career, Wright has set the example for National League third basemen. He has been an All-Star from 2006-2010 and 2012. Since his career began in 2004, Wright has ranked third among all active third basemen in home runs, third in RBI, second in runs, first in hits, and fourth in OPS.

Wright is now the Mets' official captain and clearly the heart and soul of the entire franchise. If the Mets will be winning in the near future, Wright will be leading the way with his leadership, clutch hitting and consistency.

Team Cy Young: Matt Harvey

At just 24 years old, Matt Harvey will be counted on to be a dependable anchor and potential ace this season for the Mets. A huge season from Harvey would give the Mets and their fans a lot of hope that the future could be bright with Harvey and future co-ace Zack Wheeler leading the way on the pitching side.

Jon Niese is the Mets' most durable and proven pitcher right now, but Harvey's potential should put him over the top during the season.  15-16 wins and an ERA below 3.50 are more than reasonable expectations for Harvey this year in his first full major league season.

If any Mets pitcher will be drawing a significant number of tickets this year, it will be Harvey, at least until Wheeler is still in the minor leagues.

Biggest Surprise: Collin Cowgill

As the Opening Day leadoff hitter and center fielder, Cowgill made the most of his Mets debut with a grand slam. The last Met to hit a grand slam on Opening Day was former catcher Todd Hundley in 1995.

Cowgill has the ability to get on base and could really turn out to be a steal for the Mets if he overachieves. He has center field all to himself for now, so it will be interesting to see how well he does for at least the first month of the season.

Biggest Disappointment: Johan Santana

Now that Santana is officially out for the entire 2013 season, he is clearly the big $25 million disappointment because he will most likely never throw another pitch as a Met ever again. It's very unfortunate that Santana's time with the Mets will be mostly remembered for his stints on the disabled list, but when healthy, Santana was one of the best in the game and got the Mets their long awaited first no-hitter.

Offensive Breakout Candidate: Ruben Tejada

 Ruben Tejada had a solid 2012 season with a .289 average, 26 doubles and a .333 OBP. Tejada though should be expected to perform a lot better this year. If he can hit over .300, get on base more often, draw more walks and maybe even steal a few bases, the Mets will certainly take that from him.

Pitching Breakout Candidate: Bobby Parnell

Bobby Parnell has been more or less the Mets' "closer in waiting" for the past few seasons. Now, with Frank Francisco's elbow injury, Parnell could become the full time closer for the entire season this year if he pitches well in the role.

Parnell already has the velocity of a typical closer. If he can improve his secondary pitches and maintain good control, he could become one of the National League's better closers this year.

Comeback Player of the Year: Dillon Gee

Dillon Gee was having a solid season in 2012 until a blood clot was found in an artery near his right shoulder. Gee was hospitalized and eventually shut down for the rest of the season.

A healthy Gee would be a big boost for the Mets' rotation. While he is not a hard-throwing strikeout pitcher, he will get outs and has displayed great control. If he stays healthy, Gee would definitely be the Mets' comeback player of the year.

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2013  -  Not Making Any Predictions

Clare Lafferty
MMO Staff

So, this time of year, everyone wants a prediction on the Mets season. How many games will they win? Will Ike Davis hit more homers? Can our new captain lead the team to a better record? Who will be the pitcher to watch now that R.A Dickey is gone and Johan Santana is done?

I am not a big fan of predictions probably because they never come true. Why waste your time guessing how the team will do?  It's hard enough to hear all the so-called "experts" around baseball tell you that the Mets will be horrible this year. They don't even mention that the Mets are even in the NL East - that really gets me mad!

So, instead of predictions, let's look at what we hope for. I hope for our young pitchers to gain the experience necessary to make them credible pitchers in the near future, like in 2014. I am looking forward to watching Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee and eventually ZachWheeler pitch, knowing that we can say we saw them when they first started. They all have great potential so let's see what they can do.

I hope for our outfield situation to work itself out. Everyone is in love with Collin Cowgill after his Opening Day slam and I  think he played well this spring. Let's see what he can do. I know that Lucas Duda and Marlon Byrd are starting for now and we'll have to see what happens, especially in Duda's case. We all know he's not the greatest of fielders and hopefully his bat can make up for the defensive hole that he causes.

I hope that Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy keep improving and working on their defensive craft. We all know Murph can hit and we will have to see if Tejada can improve on last year's totals. Tejada played shortstop well last year - yes, we still miss Jose - but Tejada did an acceptable job.

I hope that Ike and David will continue to be the cornerstones of this franchise. We all know what David means to this team and the fans and Ike is turning into a fine defensive first baseman. Now let's hope that he doesn't suffer through a miserable first half like last year.

And how about the bullpen? Can Bobby Parnell turn into the closer we need? He has the stuff to do it; does he have the mentality?  Scott Rice is a great story and I loved what Josh Edgin did last year. Could LaTroy Hawkins be a surprise coming out of the bullpen?

Yes, there are many questions that need to be answered but I refuse to believe that we can't improve on our 74 win season in 2012. I just don't think we are that bad. If we do the hard work this year, 2014 and 2015 can be very special seasons for the Mets. I have seen many bad seasons over my 45 years of following the Mets but this year can be the start of a promising run.

Mets fans are a hearty bunch - we are loyal and in it for the long haul. I will be watching every game and looking to see a brighter future for our ballclub. My one prediction for 2013 - the Mets will be competitive and fun to watch. I'll say we finish at 80-82.

Have hope, fellow Mets fans and look at 2013 as  the year when all the future pieces start to fall into place. Watch out in 2014!

Let's Go Mets!!

This Week in Mets History 1-12: Tom Terrific, Rusty, a Darling Trade and Strawberry's Moonshot

Frank Gray
MM Editor

This week, we celebrate baseball's opening week with a bang. We remember two mega trades that didn't seem big at the time, a new team debuts in Shea, and Darryl raises the roof. All this and more, this week in Mets history.

April 1, 1982 - In an attempt to build on youth and part ways with the players of the past few pathetic seasons, the Mets trade fan favorite Lee Mazzilli in an unpopular move. They deal Maz to the Texas Rangers in exchange for two rookie starting pitchers: Ron Darling and Walt Terrell.

Darling won 99 games with the Mets to go with a World Series, an All-Star appearance and a Gold Glove. He remains with the team in the booth calling games for SNY. While Terrell didn't have a bad Mets tenure (19 wins and a Mets career 3.53 ERA), he did have a major impact on the team's future. They would trade him to Detroit two years later for Howard Johnson.

April 3, 1966 - After a dispute with NCAA and Major League Baseball, Tom Seaver is drafted by the Mets through a special process. He was ineligible to play his senior year at USC because he had signed a professional contract.

When Seaver's father threatens a lawsuit, MLB voided his contract with Atlanta who had signed him and allowed other teams to match their offer. The Mets had their name drawn out of a hat and won the rights to draft him. Seaver then became the Hall of Fame icon we all know and love, but it was very close to never happening with the Mets.

April 3, 2009 - After the Detroit Tigers cut ties with Gary Sheffield and his massive $14 million contract, the Mets swooped in and signed him in the hopes that he would boost their outfield offense. The son of former Mets great Dwight Gooden, would hit ten homers, drive in 43 RBI and hold a .276 AVG in his one year with the Mets.

April 4, 1988 - In an opening day explosion, Kevin McReynolds and Darryl Strawberry both hit two home runs each in a memorable 10-6 win over the Expos in Montreal. The most memorable part of the game though was Strawberry's second home run. It traveled an estimated distance of 525 ft and hit a light rim in the ceiling at Olympic Stadium. It is the longest home run in the history of that venue.

April 5, 1972 - The Mets look to get stronger for the future. They do so by trading Ken Singleton, Tim Foli and Mike Jorgensen to the Montreal Expos for All Star Rusty Staub. Staub would become a fan favorite and a major part of the "Gotta Believe" Mets of 1973. The man nicknamed "Le Grand Orange" would play nine years for the Mets in two separate stints.

He would hit .276 AVG and drive in 399 RBI in Queens. Today he is the author of two Mets-themed books. He is also the founder of the NY Police and Fire Widows and Children Benefits Fund in which has raised over $112 million in donations since 9/11.