Tag Archive for Taijuan Walker

Oh My Nose!

Well that was gross. I’m talking of course about the Mets performance over the weekend in Florida and not last night’s gruesome hit-by-pitch which broke the nose of basically our best player this year, Kevil Pillar. Typically, mopping blood off the playing surface is a hockey thing, and in that spirit, let’s salute Pillar for going into the dirty areas, winning those one-on-one battles, keeping his feet moving and all all those other cliches Butch Goring admiringly ascribes to Casey Cizakas as the Islanders face their own long odds in the playoffs.

The injuries never stop: Our new outfield is Johneswhy “Huggy Bear” Fargas, wearing No. 81; Khalil Lee, No. 26, whom we referred to below; Jake Hager, No. 86; and likely, another reserve palooka to be named later. We will enter those into the database shortly, but I don’t need to tell you that Fargas and Hager are about to rewrite every record for the guys to have worn those jerseys, which is none unless you “count” Wally Backman’s September coach callup in 2011, which we do but not very enthusiastically.

Taijuan Walker in the meantime is hurting, Carlos Carrasco is returning slower than anticipated, Joey Lucchesi isn’t working out and don’t look to Syracuse nor Binghamton for reinforcements: Both of those clubs are having awful starts as graduates and Brodie’s trade-the-farm-and-finish-in-fourth approach is delivering that bloody nose we knew was coming.

I’m silently advocating they say the hell with it and promote Ronny Mauricio from Single A Brooklyn. The guy’s going to have to move off shortstop eventually.

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A New Low for the Mets

The Mets made history last month and I didn’t even realize it.

Their 4-0 victory over the Phillies April 13 was achieved behind a starting lineup whose summed uniform numbers totaled 64–obliterating the  lowest combo we found the last time we researched this question, which I’m also pretty sure is the only time that question has ever been asked. Granted there are Marcus Stroman wearing No. 7 starts that our data scientists are busy researching. But here’s the new winning combo:

  • 9 Nimmo, CF
  • 12 Lindor, SS
  • 2 Smith, LF
  • 20 Alonso, 1B
  • 6 McNeil, 2B
  • 11 Pillar, RF
  • 1 Villar, 3B
  • 3 Nido, C
  • 0 Stroman, P

That 64 crushes the combined 84 we’d found from July 3, 1962.

But there’s still more. The Stroman start came in the second game of a double-header in which Taijuan Walker started the first game, making for an unbeatable spread between starter digits. It also happened to be only third time in club history the the Mets had Black starting pitchers start both games of a doubleheader, according to research from my friends at the Crane Pool Forum. Al Jackson and Roadblock Jones started a twin-bill on April 29, 1962. And On Aug. 17, 1980, Ray Burris and Roy Lee Jackson did it.

So three all-Black-starter doubleheaders; all of them against the Phillies; the Mets split ’62; were swept in ’80; and swept in ’21.

Sorry to have overlooked this incredible achievement; I have to admit, I only realized this because I was thinking the other way.

With James McCann turning into a double-play machine and magic squirting out of the bat of Patrick Mazeika, I thought “Why not give the rookie a start?” And if we did, why not pair him up with Taijuan Walker? That  starting-battery sum of 175 I’m certain would be a club record. The Nido-Stroman duo is also the lowest-ever, darn near the lowest possible.)

But when trying to construct a mock Met lineup whose combined total would surpass the magic number of 300 I could barely do it (the record for highest-ever lineup, we’ve figured, occurred back in 2016, when it totaled 324). There are simply too many guys with sensible numbers on this team. Plus two outrageous outliers in Walker and Stroman, creating the opportunity to make history every time out there. You could look it up.

*

A seven-game win streak was put to a stop last night as Lindor, Conforto, Alonso, and Smith combined to go 0-for-15 (throw in McNeil, 1-for-19), and the bullpen couldn’t save a tight one.

Not everyone can be as hot as Villar or Pillar. And if you told me we’d get 7 in a row without deGrom…

Albert Almora, who intrepidly smashed face-first into the fence the other night at Citifield (we we over in the left-field corner: the sound was scary), is on the IL and Khalil Lee, the prospect acquired from Kansas City in the three-team deal that facilitated Andrew Benintendi’s move from the Red Sox to the Royals (Franchy Cordero went to Boston, along with Josh Wincowski, a relief pitcher the Mets acquired in the Steven Matz trade–plus an Ex-Met To Be Named Later) is up with the club, wearing No. 26, and has inherited Almora’s role as the least-used guy on the roster. Like Daniel Zamora, who’s been up-and-down a couple of times already, he’s yet to seen any action.

Lee is a lefthanded-hitting speedster who strikes out too much but can go get in center field. Let’s hope he can complement the “Bench Mob” behind this recent hot streak.

 

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Pillarious

It’s just as well Brandon Drury hasn’t shown up for camp yet because they don’t have the laundry for him anyway. That’s the story now that the Mets have dressed the newly arrived Kevin Pillar in his customary 11 while the non-roster infield longshot Drury will chose among the few left available in our updated chart below, perhaps 15 as Guillermo Heredia sure enough was whacked and subsequently waiver-wired by the Braves, where he’ll be obligated at have at least one turn at-bat we’ll regret this year.

By now we’ve heard still more from Taijuan Walker whom I have to say is a lot better at social media than Trevor Bauer. Walker has embraced his 99–as his his only predecessor, Turk Wendell–and explained that he’d come up as a 44 but was bumped off it when he was traded to Arizona and teamed with Paul Goldschmidt so took 99; a move to Toronto put 99 into conflict with Hyun Jin Ryu so took 00; and now Mr. Met forces a move back to 99. When we trade him, he’ll go back to 44.

Updated roster! NRIs in italics:

Number Name Notes
0 Marcus Stroman, P
1 Jonathan Villar, INF was Amed Rosario
2 Dom Smith, IB-OF
3 Tomas Nido, C
4 Albert Almora Jr., OF
5 vacant Unassigned (David Wright)
6 Jeff McNeil, INF-OF
7 vacant
8 Vacant Unassigned (Gary Carter)
9 Brandon Nimmo, OF
10 Gary DiSarcina, CH 3rd base coach
11 Kevin Pillar, OF
12 Francisco Lindor, SS
13 Luis Guillorme, INF
14 Retired Gil Hodges
15 Caleb Joseph, C
16 Jose Martinez, INF-OF
17 Vacant unassigned (Keith Hernandez)
18 Jose Peraza, INF
19 Luis Rojas, MGR
20 Pete Alonso, 1B
21 Mallex Smith, OF
22 Brian Schneider, CH moved from 23; was Rick Porcello
23 David Peterson, P moved from 77; was Brian Schneider
24 Vacant was Robinson Cano (suspended)
25 Ricky Bones, CH bullpen coach
26 Jerry Blevins, P
27 Jeurys Familia, P
28 JD Davis, INF-OF
29 Tommy Hunter, P released
30 Michael Conforto, OF
31 Retired Mike Piazza
32 Aaron Loup, P was Steven Matz
33 James McCann, C
34 Noah Syndergaard, P
35 Trevor Hildenberger, P
36 Retired Jerry Koosman
37 Retired Casey Stengel
38 Arodys Vizcaino, P was Justin Wilson
39 Edwin Diaz, P
40 Jacob Barnes, P was Wilson Ramos
41 Retired Tom Seaver
42 Retired Jackie Robinson
43 Jerad Eichoff, P
44 Robert Gsellman, P moved from 65; was Rene Rivera
45 Jordan Yamamoto, P was Michael Wacha
46 Stephen Tarpley, P
47 Joey Luchessi, P was Chesen Shreeve
48 Jacob deGrom, P
49 Jeremy Accardo, CH assistant pitching coach
50 Miguel Castro, P
51 Tony Tarasco, CH first base coach, was Paul Sewald
52 Sam McWilliams, P was Yoenis Cespedes
53 Jeremy Hefner, CH pitching coach
54 Chili Davis, CH hitting coach
55 Cory Oswalt, P
56 Tom Slater, CH Assistant hitting coach
57 Dave Racianello, CH Bullpen catcher
58 Dave Jauss, CH Bench coach
59 Carlos Carrasco, P
60 Bruce Maxwell, C was Andres Gimenez
61 Sean Reid-Foley, P
62 Drew Smith, P
63 Thomas Szapucki, P
64 Yennsy Diaz, P
65 Trevor May, P was Robert Gsellman
66 Franklyn Kilome, P
67 Seth Lugo, P
68 Dellin Betances, P
69 Vacant
70 Mike Mongomery, P
71 Oscar De La Cruz, P
72 Wilfredo Tovar, INF
73 Daniel Zamora, P
74 David Rodriguez, C
75 Harol Gonzalez, P
76 Patrick Mazeika, C
77 Khalil Lee, OF was David Peterson
78 Eric Langill, CH Bullpen catcher
79 Ricky Meinhold, CH assistant pitching coach
80 Rafael Fernandez, CH/JT Ginn, P BP pitcher
81 Johneshwy Fargas, OF
82 Jared Robinson, P
83 Tom Windle, P
84 Brandon Drury, INF
85 Stephen Nogosek, P
86 Jake Hager, INF
87 Mark Vientos, INF
88 Ryley Gilliam, P
89 Drew Furgeson, OF
90 Nick Meyer, C
91 Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF
92 Tylor Megill, P
93 Matt Allen, P
94 Ronny Mauricio, INF
95 Francisco Alvarez, C
96 Brett Baty, INF
97 Marcel Renteria, P
98 vacant
99 Taijuan Walker, P
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Superspreader

Hey all thanks for the updates in the below post. As you guys are aware since our last big blast the Mets have reportedly added a new Pillar to accompany their new Villar, scooped up a matching pair of veteran left-right arms in Mike Montgomery and Tommy Hunter, released Brad Brach, traded Ali Sanchez to St. Louis for cash, waived and then resigned Corey Oswalt, saw Tim Tebow’s pretend career end in retirement, and now have a deal in place to land the intriguing Taijuan Walker to a rotation that’s getting pretty deep.

Hard to imagine that training camp won’t also threaten to be a superspreader event as its already spreading uni numbers all over the place and cover is getting awfully hard to find. These numbers are always in flux: The Kevin Pillar and Walker deals still aren’t finalized and their additions to the 40 may accompany some subtractions, but taking it all in — the 69 guys expected in camp, the 14 uniformed but non-playing personnel, the 6 retired numbers (14, 31, 36, 37, 41, 42) and the other unassigned digits in limbo (5, 8, 17, and the newly complicated 24–a limbo number now in double secret limbo) that leaves at the moment only 7, 69, 84, 85, 98 and 99 free, perhaps 00 also.

Taijuan Walker, whose colorful closet includes jerseys bearing numbers 99, 0 and 00 wondered aloud the other day:

I dunno about that, Tai, but let’s assume you’ll be the first Mets’ 99 since Turk Wendell. 00 is a possibility too but there’s Mr. Met to consider. Pillar in the meantime would almost have to take 7, but I have an especially strong suspicion now that his addition is another indication Guillermo Heredia will be pink-slipped– he’s barely hanging on to a roster slot and the 15 jersey now. As pointed out in the comments below it’s possible now the Mets could move Noah Syndergaard to the 60-day Injured List so a another 40 sacrifice may not need to be made right away but Daniel Zamora  should probably be looking over his shoulder which would free up the always attractive No. 73.

Tommy Hunter a durable veteran righty reliever we most saw most recently with the Phillies but whom I think of an Oriole starter, was assigned the No. 29 vacated by the released Brad Brach. Montgomery, is a tall lefty who’s something like the Jesse Orosco of Chicago, having secured the nailbiting final out of the Cubs’ long awaited 2016 World Series victory but more recently toiled in Kansas City.

The Mets are listing Oswalt in the same 55 he momentarily gave up while he cleared waivers, so we’re assuming that’s the deal.

Happy Birthday to Us

Finally, I always forget this but not this year. This Monday 2/22/21, marks the 22nd birthday of Mets by the Numbers! A quick celebration as we count down the Top 10 Mets’ all-time 22s:

10. Dale Murray (1978-79). Workhorse sinkerballer for the darkest Mets era, his results were a match for the clubs’.

9. Charlie O’Brien (1992-93). Backup receiver in another rotten era. Like Murray, results weren’t any better than the team’s. 22 was his third number as a Met and the best of three three.

8. Jose Valentin (2007). His second year as a Met, only one in 22, worse in every way than the first.

7. Dominick Smith (2017-19). Since moved to greater success wearing No. 2.

6. Xavier Nady (2006). A half-season of exemplary slugging contributed to one of the most satisfying starts in club history.

5. Jack Fisher (1964-67). Wasn’t terribly successful Fat Jack worked. 931.2 innings in four years including a club record that might never be broken unless this “opener” idea really takes off: 36 starts in 1965.

4. Kevin McReynolds (1987-91, 1994). Laconic and unpopular but all the things Joe McIlvaine liked about him were true: He had power, he had speed, he had a good arm, he was solid defensively.

3. Ray Knight (1984-86). McReynolods’ popular predecessor who shouldn’t have to buy a drink in New York but people forget the fan animosity toward Knight was nearly McReynoldseque given how rotten he was in 1985

2. Donn Clendenon (1969-71): Key arrival in ’69, never again needed to buy drinks.

1. Al Leiter (1998-2004): Heart and soul of the Valentine era Mets hurlers that birthed this site and who has long belonged in the club’s hall of fame but remarkably isn’t there. A creative and occasionally exasperating thinker whose effort was laudable as it was audible. Needn’t buy drinks when I’m around.

 

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