Results tagged ‘ Terry Collins ’

Frank Franc or Bust?

“We want Rauch! We want Rauch!”

Frank Francisco stepped to the pitcher’s mound in the top of the ninth inning only to be bombarded by boos and even demands that Terry Collins replace him with Jon Rauch. But Terry has said that he is sticking with Francisco as his closer.

“He wanted to be in there bad tonight,” Collins said after the game, “I thought I should give him that opportunity.”

While Francisco did go on to record his ninth save of the season, he was not able to preserve Miguel Batista’s shut out as he gave up a run, two hits, and a walk in his outing last night. Francisco’s numbers haven’t helped his case either: 14 ER in 14.2 innings pitched and that 8.59 ERA don’t look pretty compared to closers throughout the league. But then again, 14 closers have lost their jobs this season due to ineffectiveness.

Francisco is just the latest in a lineup of Mets closers that have made fans squirm in their seats during the ninth inning. Even two of the game’s greatest left-handed closers, John Franco and Billy Wagner were unable to keep fans from covering their eyes during the ninth. Do I even mention Armando Benitez, Frankie Rodriguez and the Bobby Parnell experiment of late 2011?

This offseason, Sandy Alderson’s main priority was revamping the bullpen. The offensive pieces, whether we liked it or not, were all there. The starting pitching was there. So Sandy turned to the bullpen, depleted by the trade of K-Rod, who had been doing some good work for the Mets, but not without typical Mets cringe-worthy ninth inning moments. We acquired Ramon Ramirez from the Giants, and signed Rauch and Francisco with the spending money that ownership and the Mets provided for payroll. And then they went quiet for three months. Sure, we signed a few players to minor league contracts, but we didn’t make a big splash by magically coming up with the money to re-sign Jose Reyes, or get another starter like Mark Buerhle.

We signed two closers in Francisco and Rauch, but Rauch has mainly been relegated to eighth inning work. There are other options in our bullpen, including Rauch, Parnell, Ramirez, Manny Acosta, and even Tim Byrdak. But it looks like Terry is going to continue to go to Francisco in ninth inning save situations, whether we like it or not. Here’s an iea; maybe if the Mets took a four run lead into the ninth, Frank Franc wouldn’t have to be used for the save. Just a thought. Let’s go Mets.

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

Well, the Mets have gone through a full rotation. After getting off to a 4-0 start, instilling hope in the eyes of many, the Mets have gone back to being the baseball team that we all know and love.

Jason Bay can’t hit the ball to save his life. David Wright fractured his pinky, jeopardizing Terry Collins’ plan to keep Daniel Murphy at second base. Dillon Gee hasn’t shaved his Brian Wilson-esque beard. Perhaps most worrying for the Mets is that in two starts, they’ve scored zero runs for Johan Santana.

Sure, they won on Opening Day…but the run came after Santana came out of the game. Yesterday, the Mets didn’t even score a run after they went to bullpen. On Opening Day, the Mets shut out the Braves. Yesterday, Johan only allowed one earned run. Am I missing something here? Did Santana not come back after 16 months and we have a new guy pitching who says his name is Johan Santana?

But this is nothing new for the Mets. Type in “Johan Santana run support” into any search engine, and one is bombarded with news items about Johan Santana from 2009 and 2010 about how he doesn’t get any run support. One story from yesteryear called him the “Unluckiest Pitcher in Baseball.” It’s not a stretch.

Take into consideration our divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies. You can pretty much count on Roy Halladay going out there every time and notch another quality start into his belt. In reality, the Phillies only have to score one more run than the other team and maybe tack on an insurance run or two to prevent the other team from coimng back. It has been the Mets’ experience that not only does Halladay shut them down, but the offense tacks on one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN runs for Halladay.

I can’t comment on the atmosphere of the Mets clubhouse, but part of me wonders if when Santana’s pitching, the hitters feel like they can be lax in their jobs. I’m not saying that having the stability of Johan Santana is a bad thing; the hitters take for granted that Santana is going to go out there and shut down the opponent and strike out 10 or 11 batters. I am worried about R.A. Dickey in this same fashion. Dating back to last year, Dickey has 13 straight quality starts. What’s to prevent Ike Davis from saying, “R.A. won’t let off more than three runs. I can chill” or “We have Johan freaking Santana. I can chill.”

Baseball is a two way street. Just as the pitchers have to pitch well, the hitters have to hit the ball. If Johan pitches well, isn’t entitled to more than three runs of support per start over the course of 25-30 starts?

 

Great Expectations

In baseball, the expression “there’s always next year” is used on a regular basis. I mean, the Cubs have been saying “there’s always next year” for 103 years. But next year for the Mets might not be 2012, or even 2013. For the Mets, “there’s always next year” may very well be an omen for defeat, not words of encouragement for the impending season.

The top two pitching prospects in our farm system, Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey may not be ready until the 2014 season. What does that leave us for 2012? An ace that hasn’t pitched in 15 months, a knuckleballer who may or may not be a Met depending on how his Mount Kilimanjaro climb goes, a guy who was born to be a Met, a former rookie that hopefully doesn’t go into a sophomore slump, and a guy whose tongue I can make jokes about all day. Not exactly the greatest rotation ever.

In 2011, the rotation we had wasn’t the greatest on paper. But they got the job done. And “there’s always next year” might mean lowering an shoddy ERA, keeping the team in the game, or just keeping your tongue in your mouth for an entire inning.

The Mets offense took a hit when Jose Reyes skipped out and decided to wear a hideous uniform. But the Wilpon family was finally gracious enough to move in the Citi Field walls. And replace the medical staff. Replacing the medical staff may have actually been a key move. “There’s always next year” for the offense might mean that they actually stay on the field for close to 162 games, or it might be producing the RBIs and home runs you’re getting paid $15 million for. And for still some, it might mean finding a permanent spot on the team.

For some teams, great expectations mean making the playoffs. For others, it might mean keeping your head above water for as long as possible. For the Mets, I think great expectations mean preparing for the future. Terry Collins might not be the Mets manager of the future, but like it or not, he’s gonna be the guy that gets us there.

Mets hire Goodwin at 1B

The Mets announced that Tom Goodwin would be their first base coach for the 2012 season.

Goodwin finished his fourth year with the Boston Red Sox. He was their Minor League Outfield and Base Running Coordinator for three of those years.

He played 14 seasons in the majors, playing outfield for the Rockies, Giants, Rangers, Royals and Cubs. Goodwin had a career .268 average and stole 50 bases in four different seasons.

According to previous reports, the Mets also interviewed Kevin Morgan and Jack Voigt. They were also believed to express interest in Doug Dascenzo, but he was hired by the Atlanta Braves organization.

With the announcement of Goodwin at first, Terry Collins’s 2012 coaching staff is complete. Dan Warthen and Dave Hudgens were retained as pitching and hitting coaches, respectively. Former Oakland A’s manager Bob Geren was hired to be the bench coach. Tim Teufel and Ricky Bones were promoted from AAA Buffalo to fill the third base and bullpen coaching vacancies.

Now that the coaching is set, the Mets can focus on other needs.

Looking Ahead: 2012 without Jose Reyes

There is a very strong possibility that Jose Reyes might not be a Met come 2012. There might be too much of a gap between what the team can give him and what he wants. He might want Carl Crawford money when Carl Crawford isn’t even worth Carl Crawford money.

So Terry Collins has to think under the assumption that Jose Reyes is not a Met.

He has Ruben Tejada, who filled in for Reyes while he was on the disabled list and when Terry decided to give him a day off. Tejada played in 96 games this season (totally did not realize that), 41 of them at shortstop. Tejada only had eight errors compared to Reyes’s 18.

But being 21 years old, Tejada might still benefit from the minors, seeing as pretty much the Mets were pretty much made up of the Buffalo Bisons and Jason Bay.

Another option the Mets have is Justin Turner, who is normally a second baseman by trade, but has been known to moonlight at short. By moving Turner to short, that allows for Daniel Murphy to play second base, a position he was learning to play when he was plagued by injury. Murphy’s bat played a big part of the Mets being in the thick of things as long as they were. Once we lost Murphy’s bat, the season was over. I want Daniel Murphy somewhere on this field. And second base might be his spot.

As for what the Mets should focus on instead, I think they should focus on an outfielder with some pop. Jason Bay, while excellent defensively, has no pop. I’m still waiting for him to pop. And of course, there’s always a need for pitching, unless you’re the stupid Phillies. We need pitching all around in my opinion. Starters, relievers…where’s Billy Beane when you need him?

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