Tag Archive for Terry Collins

Amazin’!

Well, they did it.

21Exactly five weeks ago today (you could look it up!) I posited that in order for the Mets to get into the postseason they’d need to win 21 of their remaining 33 games. That seemed like a longshot if not the impossibility it would have appeared less than two weeks before that, but I’ll be dagnabbed if they didn’t win their 21st on Saturday and clinch the playoffs at the very same time.

You could look it up.

I’m not taking a personal victory lap here — my supposed experience and perspective on uni numbers was proven wrong this year over and over and over again this year — but rather, I’m surprised that of all the expectations of the season this was the one that came true. My general feeling on any season’s prospects is get to 10 games over .500 first, then I can consider the possibility of going all-in. The Mets of course knocked on that door early in the season and then again late, but didn’t reach that plateau to stay until late last week.

10That means we’re as hot as can be headed into Wednesday’s win-or-go-home showdown. And though anything can happen I’m taking some solace in the fact that we were there last season, and even if you argue that was a better club (more starting pitching depth, a better track record in having proven they belonged since April vs. since September) I’m recalling the 2000 club, which by almost any measure was inferior to their 1999 predecessors but who got considerably further in the postseason due in part to the psychic experience of having gotten there the first time. So I’m optimistic. I think Terry Collins deserves Manager of the Year after I slogged him only a few weeks ago.

Meantime I’m checking on Chris’ comment below that the 2016ers have likely surpassed the “record” of the highest-combined-uni starting lineup we’d found prior to this year, the 274 we threw up on April 4, 2012. I’m on it!

 

 

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Mackey Sacked

54Back from a short biz-trip to let you know I still don’t know what the Mets are doing with these uni issues, the latest being T.J. Rivera’s recall from Las Vegas and subsequent assignment of No. 54.

I was with everyone else in advocating the Mets issue the recently freed-up No. 2 to Rivera but hadn’t a particularly strong argument for it until my friend Edward at the Crane Pool alerted me to this Daily Snooze profile detailing how Rivera got to the Mets in the first place:

“I told Tommy, ‘I can’t believe nobody drafted T.J. You can’t go wrong with him,'” recalls [Mackey] Sasser, who was a Met from 1988-92 [and Rivera’s college coach at Wallace Community College in Alabama]. “He’s going to make someone a good player.”

2Sasser of course was a notoriously famous No. 2, maybe the jersey’s most memorable character behind manager Bobby Valentine and Marvelous Marv Throneberry, who we now know personally championed an undrafted free agent who reached the majors on the strength of his hitting. That the Mets somehow overlooked this intersection of opportunity (the Dilson Herrera trade) and appropriateness, while going completely off-script and making Rivera the first non-pitcher/non-coach ever to wear 54 isn’t a great signal they’re doing this whole uni-number-issuing thing correctly.

The Mets on the other hand aren’t doing much of anything right lately, culminating in this week’s deserved sweeping at the hands of the awful Arizona Diamondbacks and their fugly uniforms. Terry Collins yesterday made a show of demanding a fresh start from his guys, a move that could prove to be too late to save them or him.

imagesSpeaking of bad teams in fugly uniforms, my travels this week took me to the Twin Cities where I witnessed Target Field for the first time, encountering what for me was an odd site — the homestanding Twins in bright-red home jerseys. The stadium was quite nice, bonus points for locating it within moments of a train station, but the unis bothered me until I realized the none-too-subtle message I’m sure they were meant to deliver. Cheap chic indeed.

 

 

 

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Mets Hit Wall, Burst into Flames

1The Mets abruptly signed dressed and deployed Justin Ruggiano last night, and the veteran outfielder went out and played like a cliche of a No. 1: Ridiculous leaping catch attempt, overhustling a slow rolling single, foolishly getting thrown out attempting to steal third base with Bartolo Colon batting.

ruggianoWhat a find! And his crumpled body on the warning track a perfect Met-aphor for this wreck this season is quickly becoming now with Jose Reyes out, Juan Lagares out, Cespedes hurting, Duda still missing, Wright long gone, Walker and Cabrera morphing back into middling singles hitters and Conforto and Zimmo and D’Arnaud failing so far to evolve themselves.

And I’m not calling for Terry Collins to be fired or resign but would say the SHaMs struggles these past few weeks has resembled something out of Jerry Manuel’s playbook: A palpable lack of confidence in his guys runs up and down the lineup and in the bullpen, and I think, is contributing at some level to how poorly they are executing at the moments of truth. The fact his lineup doesn’t hit well to begin with is also a factor.

One of the brilliant minds at the Crane Pool crunched the numbers and heading into last night they looked like this:

If the 2016 Mets were to hit with RiSP just like the 2016 Mets hit otherwise [.238, last in the NL] their 148 hits w/RiSP would turn into 174.
Taking that figure and using their present production of 1.486 Runs per RiSP-AB (220 runs produced by those 148 hits) the new figure would result in an extra 39 runs scored over the course of the season to this point. That alone creates about four extra wins on average, turning the current 53-49 record into more like 57-45; the 7.5 games back into 3.5; and the current 84-win pace for the full season into 90

And that’s not even the worst of it, because not only do they hit less often with RiSP but they hit a larger pct of singles in those ABs than their usual (almost 70% instead of 63.1%) with far fewer 2Bs (16.2% instead of 19%) & HRs (12.8% instead of 16.4%). So if those extra hits were in the same proportion as what they produce normally then the runs scored increase would logically get even larger.

This morning we’re 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, 7.5 out of first place, 3 games over .500 and its the Trade Deadline. All day yesterday fans were entertaining fantasies of obtaining Jonathan Lucroy along the the rumored relief help we apparently need so bad. (Really? That’s the issue?). My inclination this morning is to see if we can’t dangle Neil Walker, Addison Reed, and dare I say Curtis Granderson with an eye on next season. And if they don’t believe in him enough to offer him to Milwaukee, Travis d’Arnaud too. What’s your take?

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Talking Baseball

MBTN-bookshelfHey look! METS BY THE NUMBERS is here. It has been completely rewritten and re-engineered, including bios and data on more than 300 new players, with more minute details, a complete history of the uniform, new lists, new rankings, new photos, and more than 80 new pages. It’s hefty, and you can tell it’s an actual copy because David Wright appears on the cover instead of Dwight Gooden in the mockup you’ve seen until now. (Gooden instead appears on the spine, a nice touch).

It officially launches tonight with an event at Word Books (126 Franklin St., Brooklyn) where I will discuss the project in conversation with NBC Sports’ D.J. Short and Greg Prince, author of the excellent AMAZIN AGAIN. We will have books for sale and signatures, plus free beer and Crackerjacks, starting at 7 p.m. Please join us! (Word is easy to find, 2 blocks from the Greenpoint Ave. stop on the G).

62In Mets news, the club staggered to a disappointing series split in Milwaukee which saw still more of the team suffer aches and pains including manager Terry Collins (ill but thankfully appears OK), Neil Walker (bad back), Michael Conforto (wrist) and Jim Henderson (finger). Logan Verrett made a spot start then was sent down to Las Vegas and replaced by Erik Goeddel, who returned in No. 62. As noted, Kelly Johnson arrived and took over Ty Kelly’s No. 55.

Let’s Go Mets!

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Without 28

28I’m not going to lie and say Daniel Murphy was ever my favorite Met, but there’s no denying his Met-ness.

Now that it looks like his career with the Mets has come to an end Murphy departs having accounted for more than one-fourth of all games ever played by a guy wearing No. 28 — nearly 40% among position players. His lead over the next most active 28, John Milner, is exactly 162 games and almost 1,000 at-bats.

No Met 28 had any more hits, runs scored, doubles, triples, RBI and stolen bases than Murphy (Milner had more home runs); none were a bigger force in the postseason; no player made you crazier behind brilliant and brilliantly awful plays than Murphy.

52Now that Murphy has officially declined a “qualifying offer,” and it appears as though Yoenis Cespedes is going away too (thanks, and, uh, see ya around, Yo), remaking the interior of the Mets is a priority for the offseason. I don’t think it’s a radical of me to suggest the Mets look to do so with an eye on preventing the kind of up-the-middle sloppiness that doomed them to a deserving humiliation in the World Series (a friend described the Mets’ play against Kansas City as a “dog’s breakfast.”)

My opinion on the best way of going about things could change still but how about we move Wilmer Flores to second base, sign free agent Denard Span, and trade with the Red Sox for shortstop Xander Bogaerts? If and when Dilson Hererra forces his way up, Flores becomes the New Muprhy: Filling in at second, third and (if necessary) short.

Span — at least when healthy — is a nice player who can complement Lagares (he bats left, reaches base exceptionally well, steals bases).

2The Bogaerts part of my plan I admit is a bit of a reach, and might mean parting with Matt Harvey, but 22 year old shortstops like him don’t grow on trees. And it might be more realistic than the Matt-Harvey-for-Mookie-Betts talk out there, as much sense as that makes if only to acquire a Mookie.

Conflict in the making: Both Bogaerts and Span wear No. 2.

Ian Desmond, who could replace Murphy’s offense easily and improve the defense at short, is another possibility if you can’t part with the cost of acquiring a guy by trade.

46I warned you guys about Tyler Clippard, who wound up pretty much like all 46s do, but all the same bullpen upgrades should hardly ever be a priority. I suppose there’s an opportunity to add a few arms to the mix, but there almost always is.

10Congrats to Terry Collins on the new deal, I’m shocked he ever made it this far but he’s grown on me: Complaints about bullpen management come with every guy, but in general I haven’t felt like Terry gives up anything strategically to the other team’s manager, and in the case of the Nationals he beat them badly. As noted above I’d like to see his teams get a little better at the little things, and hope he’ll be held accountable when they don’t.

Your thoughts on the offseason?

 

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Collis, Collin, Myrick and Carson

44I’m no more panicky or distressed today than I was weeks ago over this team, just a little disappointed now that it looks like they’re headed for another last place finish when 3rd place once looked so attainable. Some insist this demands the end of the Terry Collins Era; I’m of the feeling that Terry would be around until the team is ready to be passed along to the next guy, but it’s getting harder to imagine when that day is coming. This team needs a lot of help. So does Terry.

He presided over another bad loss yesterday, as the bullpen, poor defense and a punchless offense wasted a fine debut effort from Collin McHugh, the new No. 36. You might have noticed Robert Carson was back for a spell too.

And you might also have seen this article the other day by hardworking blogger Brian Joura, reviewing the failures of the Mets and Collins as they idiotically pursue “a second lefty” the same way Jerry Manuel wasted so much time and energy on the “8th inning guy” while the rest of the team grew increasingly tight and unable to give the bullpen much of anything to work with in the first place. Why, Joura asked, should a team value narrow platoon advantages over versatility? Where have you gone, Bob Myrick?

As it turned out, Bob Myrick died yesterday of a heart attack at age 59. Myrick, who wore No. 44 for the late-70s Mets, was a lefty who could start or relieve. His splits were radical only in the sense that they basically didn’t exist: Joe Torre never once needed to tie his roster in knots in order to shoehorn him into a game. He more or less was an average reliever who happened to throw with his left arm, an almost unheard-of concept today.

Myrick’s obituary mentioned first not that he was a former Mets pitcher, but that he was general manager of a family-run building supply business in Hattiesburg, Miss. — his hometown, and also Robert Carson’s hometown. It’s entirely possible Robert Carson grew up in a home built with lumber Bob Myrick provided.

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Moving On

It isn’t like they needed one but the Mets got another reminder of their shortcomings in depth, defense and power this weekend, and it didn’t help that Terry Collins couldn’t manage past them and Ike Davis was poisoned. But whatever, they’ve got to move on and will do so now without Vinny Rottino, who was farmed out last night for lefty relief help, Justin Hampson. We could have used both guys last night but Terry instead opted for Justin Turner, who had a very bad game and Miguel Batista, who’s once again pitching like a 41-year-old should.

No word yet on Hampson’s digits, we’ll let you know (or, likely, you will me). EDIT: Hampson (note the spelling) appeared tonight wearing No. 45.

In the inbetween we welcomed back Ronny Cedeno, Ruben Tejada and Ramon Ramirez and bid goodbye (for now) to Jordany Valdespin, Elvin Ramirez (farmed out) and Frank Francisco (strained mouth). I liked both Valdespin and Ramirez and hope to see them back soon.

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Not Half Bad

So here we are at the All-Star Break and I think we’d all agree that getting here with a prayer of contending for the playoffs without Ike Davis, David Wright, Johan Santana, and with Jason Bay having the kind of year he’s having is a kind of small miracle and for that Terry Collins has our gratitude and this team has my admiration. But let’s not kid ourselves: Only a very hot start to the second half is going to make a difference if and when the calvary returns. Sandy Alderson would be a fool not to at least entertain offers for our guys big and small in the meantime and pull the trigger if the returns blow him away. Why not? At any rate, I’m finding it difficult to imagine that the cheap, useful guys (Capuano, Isringhausen, Hairston, Paulino) stick around and I hope we can get out from under the Frankie Rodriguez deal at some point.

In the meantime you haven’t heard a whole lot from me in part because June was an especially light month on the transaction wire for the Mets. How light? Well, according to my roster expert Jason, there were no Met debuts in the month of June at all. Excluding Octobers and the strike-shortened August 1994, it’s only the third month since August of 1993 there have been no Met debuts and the first time since June of 2007 that no new Met arrived.

We are checking in to note the recent return of Nick Evans and salute the poor kid both for his home run the other night and his roachlike ability to remain an option — but never the first one — for the Mets for four straight years now. In each of the last four seasons Evans had at least two separate stints with the team which has got to be approaching a record, thanks in part to twice escaping a claim by other clubs when exposed to waivers this year and subsequently electing to remain with the organization as opposed to trying his luck elsewhere. If he’s not a perfect Met No. 6 nobody is. Cheers, Nick!

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Help Identify the Mystery Met

OK Holmes (Sherlock, that is), time for another Met Mystery, courtesy of the following exerpted note from MBTN reader David:

At a baseball card show last month, a man approached me with an interesting photo that appears to be from a legends game. He asked if I knew anything about it. I was able to identify some of the participants (Earl Weaver, Don Zimmer, Lou Brock, etc) but really want to place the location and date. Since I didn’t have a scanner I took several pictures on my phone. You can see the (larger) picture here.

Crazy as it sounds I think one of the keys to unlocking this mystery is the Met in the lower left.Close up is here. He doesn’t seem tough to identify – older, wearing glasses. His number is partially obstructed but it appears that it would have to be #7. However, no #7 that I find lines up with this man. It isn’t Ed Kranepool and many of the others are easily eliminated based on skin color, hair color, and so on. I simply cannot find a match for this man. I thought maybe it could be a seventy number, like 74 or something, but that number appears too far to the man’s left for there to be another number after it.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. I know that #11 is Wayne Garrett thanks to your great site.

* * *

As I told David privately, the photo is a little too blurry to identify anything for sure, but with young and old players in home and road uniforms, what looks like a minor-league setting (maybe Florida, note the ads on the fence) some kind of Old-Timers exhibition seems likely. The Mystery Met in the corner bears some resemblance to Mike Cubbage, no, but given the weird jersey sleeve-stripes, it could be anybody. There is one (Stearns?!?) or maybe two more Mets in that shot as well, not to mention some guys dressed in what look to be softball jerseys. Weird pic at any rate. Can you help identify the time, place and players in this shot? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks!

* * *

Ike Davis, who looked like a veteran the day he stepped on the field for the Mets — barely a year ago — is looking like a veteran off the field too, exhibiting all the bushy-tailed bounceback of a 44-year-old, not the 24-year-old he is. News today is that its another three weeks in a boot and plenty of Geritol for Old Ike before we see him again.

The team we have out there today is barely hanging on: It’s a real credit to Terry Collins that they’ve managed to not get killed out there most nights, much less put a few wins together. But it’s not the kind of thing that’s likely to last, and when the team’s only living power hitter misses a couple of months with a bruise, that’s bad.

With Jose Reyes out, Bobby Parnell returned but didn’t pitch well. We just lost to the Pirates.

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Terry Collins vs. History

Hello again from sole possession of 4th place. These banged-up replace-Mets are impressing me with their drive, even while disaster forever lurks nearby.

Longtime MBTN contributor Shorty in New Jerseydelivered the following awesomeness to the mailbox the other day. Check it out.

After his first seven games as the Mets’ manager, TERRY COLLINS’ record was 3 wins and 4 losses to show for it.  That matched exactly the entire Major League managerial career of MIKE CUBBAGE, who managed the Mets for seven games and went 3-4 in 1991.

After eleven games, Collins’ record was 4 wins and 7 losses.  This matched exactly the entire Mets managerial career of SALTY PARKER, who managed the Mets for eleven games and went 4-7 in 1967.  (He entire Major League managerial career record was 5-7 after he went 1-0 as the Astros’ manager in 1972.)

Next on the list would be ROY McMILLAN, who managed the Mets for 53 games in 1975 and had a record of 26-27.  Believe it or not, if the Mets go 5-5 over their next 10 games, Collins will match McMillan’s record exactly!

I don’t know about you, but given the 2011 Mets so far, 5-5 in their next 10 sounds like a pretty good bet, after which Collins will aim for and hopefully miss badly the managerial career of Frank Howard, who in 116 games managing the Mets won only 52 of them. For Terry’s crew to match that record, they’d need to stink up the joint to a record of 31-42 over their next 73.

I can’t think of a better way to prevent .425 baseball this summer than to see R.A. Dickey turn things around, and soon. Whether it’s his book deal and erudite interviews, his control of the knuckler, or what, he’s got to be better than the guy he’s pitching against for these Mets to win his games — the offense just isn’t there to take back all the leads than he’s surrendered. Tonight’s game at MFY Stadium is a big moment then for all of us, so Let’s Go Mets.

Meantime, I got another message from a reader named Josh, who’s looking for information on uni numbers for the Tidewater Tides, particularly in the Todd Hundley Era (early 1990s). If you can help Josh, feel free to write him at swishagency (at) gmail (dot) (com). Thanks in advance for the help!

I swiped the accompanying image from Mets Gazette, I think it lends an appropriate gravity to all that’s going on these days.

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