April 2013

Phillies 8, Mets 3: Three Up, Three Down

Probably not what the Mets envisioned tonight. Okay, definitely not what the Mets envisioned.

Three Up:
1. 2B Daniel Murphy: Murphy just continues to drive the ball with authority, this time rapping out a single and a double in four trips to the plate. He had two of the Mets’ eight hits against Lee.

2. C John Buck: Another night, another opposite-field homer for the National League’s RBI leader. Ho-hum.

3. RHP LaTroy Hawkins: It may have been a low-leverage situation, but Hawkins’ 10-pitch seventh against Michael Young, Domonic Brown and John Mayberry was impressive. Overall lately, the Mets’ bullpen has been sharp.

Three Down:
1. RHP Dillon Gee: Mets starters entered tonight’s game with a 1.87 ERA. They exited the stadium with a 3.11 ERA. Enough said.

2. RHP Greg Burke: Here’s something to keep an eye on: when Burke puts runners on base, he has a hard time holding them there. Burke’s submarine delivery is slow to the plate, as Chase Utley demonstrated by stealing second and scoring against him in the fourth. That could loom large in future high-leverage situations.

3. 2B Justin Turner: Given a rare start at first base, Turner grounded into a double play in his first at-bat, finished 1-for-4 with a single and committed a throwing error on defense. Spot starting isn’t easy, but the Mets were hoping for more.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+4
C John Buck
+3
2B Daniel Murphy

+2
LHP Jon Niese, RHP Matt Harvey
+1
RHP Jeremy Hefner, OF Mike Baxter, OF Marlon Byrd
-1
RHP Jeurys Familia, 3B David Wright, SS Ruben Tejada, OF Lucas Duda, LHP Aaron Laffey
-2
1B Ike Davis, LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Greg Burke
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets 7, Phillies 2: Three Up, Three Down

Matt Harvey was excellent. Roy Halladay not so much. In case you didn’t already know.

Three Up:
1. RHP Matt Harvey: For the second time this season, Harvey was not just good; he was dominant. Nine strikeouts in seven innings highlighted his outing, but Harvey also held the Phillies to three hits. He has allowed four hits and one run all season.

2. C John Buck: The man is an offensive machine. Not many right-handed hitters in baseball have the power to park a ball as far up the right-field stands as Buck did in the second inning. Buck has also caught both of Harvey’s gems this season.

3. 2B Daniel Murphy: He is driving the all with authority to all fields these days, something the Mets did not necessarily expect considering he missed most of the spring with an intercostal strain. Murphy finished 2-for-4, reaching base three times.

Three Down:
1. OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis: Batting leadoff, Nieuwenhuis went 0-for-3 before giving way to a pinch-hitter in the sixth. He also broke back on Humberto Quintero’s hit in the third inning; had he read the ball correctly, Nieuwenhuis easily would have recorded the out.

2. LHP Josh Edgin: There is an argument to be made that Edgin, who appeared in four of the Mets’ first six games, had no business entering a six-run game in the eighth. Alas, usage patters are not his fault. The double and run against him is.

3. 1B Ike Davis: A botched defensive play led to a run in the fourth inning, then Davis committed a fielding error in the sixth. Combined with his 1-for-5 at the plate, it was not a spectacular day at the office.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+3
C John Buck

+2
LHP Jon Niese, RHP Matt Harvey, 2B Daniel Murphy
+1
RHP Dillon Gee, INF Justin Turner, RHP Jeremy Hefner, OF Mike Baxter, OF Marlon Byrd
-1
RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Jeurys Familia, 3B David Wright, RHP Greg Burke, SS Ruben Tejada, OF Lucas Duda, LHP Aaron Laffey
-2
1B Ike Davis, LHP Josh Edgin
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets 4, Marlins 3: Three Up, Three Down

When Marlon Byrd stepped to the plate in the ninth inning Sunday, do you think he knew he was at risk of losing a point in this space for the first time this season? I do too.

Three Up:
1. OF Marlon Byrd: Can’t lie to you: Byrd was on the Three Down list before coming up with a game-winning two-run single in the ninth. Was his soft ground ball more a product of opportunity than anything else? Sure. But here at Three Up, Three Down, we reward walk-off hits 100 percent of the time.

2. RHP Greg Burke: The only reason the Mets stayed close all afternoon is because Burke wriggled out of Laffey’s jam in the fifth inning, giving the Mets 1 2/3 key innings of relief. For the first time this season, he aimed for strikeouts instead of ground balls, finding some success in the process.

3. SS Ruben Tejada: Not only did Tejada’s error streak end, but he also reached base twice and stole a critical base with one out in the seventh. Most importantly, he made an aggressive (and fortuitous) dash on the base paths, going first to third on Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ one-out single in the ninth. That was huge.

Three Down:
1. LHP Aaron Laffey: Ten hits in 4 1/3 innings ain’t going to cut it. Laffey’s rope in the rotation can’t be very long, which is bad news for the Mets; with Shaun Marcum out indefinitely, they don’t really have a good in-house alternative.

2. OF Lucas Duda: Two strikeouts and an 0-for-4 were bad enough, but Duda also took an, um, questionable route to Rob Brantly’s double in the seventh. That one did not come back to bite the Mets, but it reminded them that Duda is hardly a natural out there.

3. OF Collin Cowgill: Known primarily for his work against lefty pitching, Cowgill drew a tough assignment leading off against hard-throwing Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez, an electric right-hander. But, again, life ain’t fair.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+2
LHP Jon Niese, C John Buck
+1
RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Dillon Gee, INF Justin Turner, RHP Jeremy Hefner, 2B Daniel Murphy, OF Mike Baxter, OF Marlon Byrd
-1
RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Jeurys Familia, 3B David Wright, 1B Ike Davis, LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Greg Burke, SS Ruben Tejada, OF Lucas Duda, LHP Aaron Laffey
-2
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets 7, Marlins 3: Three Up, Three Down

That was a wild one. Here’s your daily trios:

Three Up:
1. LHP Jon Niese: Ho hum, yet another strong starting pitching performance for the Mets. Niese gave up eight hits, but most of them were soft ground balls or bloopers. On most days, Niese would have pitched deeper into the game and recorded the win.

2. C John Buck: Four RBI for Buck brought his season total to nine, second in Major League Baseball. (You read that right.) Buck also called another strong game behind the plate against his former team; Mets pitchers really seem to love him.

3. OF Mike Baxter: With respect to David Wright, who rapped out three hits, and Daniel Murphy, who recorded the game-winner, it was Baxter who kept the offense chugging along all day. Two walks and a hit were nice, but Baxter’s stolen base in the seventh was what really made Murphy’s game-winner possible.

Three Down:
1. SS Ruben Tejada: Four errors now in five games for Tejada, in what is becoming a legitimate issue. With no other bona fide shortstop on the roster, the Mets cannot even give Tejada a day or two to clear his mind. (By the way, he was also 0-for-4 at the plate).

2. LHP Josh Edgin: According to Saturday’s official scorer, Edgin did not earn a victory because his outing was “brief and ineffective.” That’s enough to earn a thumbs down here.

OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis: I almost feel bad for Kirk…he’s been pretty unlucky in this space. His 0-for-4 Saturday did not affect the Mets to any great extent, but no one else really struggled. Sorry Kirk — once again, you lose by default.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+2
LHP Jon Niese, C John Buck
+1
OF Collin Cowgill
, RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Dillon Gee, INF Justin Turner, RHP Jeremy Hefner, 2B Daniel Murphy, OF Mike Baxter
-1
RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Jeurys Familia, 3B David Wright, 1B Ike Davis, LHP Josh Edgin
-2
RHP Greg Burke, SS Ruben Tejada, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Marlins 7, Mets 5: Three Up, Three Down

That one got away from them quickly. Here are three reasons why, and three reasons why not:

Three Up:
1. RHP Jeremy Hefner: Once again, the Mets received a strong outing from their starting pitcher, leaning on Hefner for six innings of one-run ball. This loss was hardly Hef’s fault.

2. 2B Daniel Murphy: His three-run homer in the seventh proved that yes, as a matter of fact, the Mets did still have an offensive pulse. Murphy later grounded out with the tying runs on base, but we can’t hold that against him because he put the Mets in that position in the first place. Murphy saved another run with a nice defensive play in the ninth.

3. OF Jordany Valdespin: He was picked off first base once, nearly doubled off the bag twice, and took a horrific route to Giancarlo Stanton’s two-base hit in the ninth. But Valdespin did rap out two hits, steal a bag, reach base four times and draw an eight-pitch walk to set up Murphy’s homer. This is the least we can do for Valdespin, who was also plunked by the baseball twice (ouch).

Three Down:
1. SS Ruben Tejada: Tejada’s fielding error in the seventh inning opened the floodgates for the Marlins, who scored five runs in the inning. It was Tejada’s third error in four games. Somewhere, John Dewan shed a tear.

2. RHP Greg Burke: Of course, Tejada’s error would have been a footnote had Burke recovered to limit the damage. He didn’t, walking the next batter and allowing four runs (one earned) in 0.1 innings.

1B Ike Davis: Here we go again? Davis grounded into a double play (again), struck out (again) and finished 0-for-4 (again). He was robbed of a hit in the fifth inning, but stats are stats: he’s now 1-for-16 on the season.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+1
OF Collin Cowgill
, LHP Jon Niese, RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Dillon Gee, C John Buck, INF Justin Turner, RHP Jeremy Hefner, 2B Daniel Murphy
-1
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Jeurys Familia, 3B David Wright, SS Ruben Tejada, 1B Ike Davis
-2
RHP Greg Burke

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Padres 2, Mets 1: Three Up, Three Down

The Mets had their chances in a 2-1 loss to the Padres. For the first time this season, the list of “Down” candidates was significantly longer than the list of “Ups”:

Three Up:
1. RHP Dillon Gee: The Mets certainly would have signed up pregame for what Gee delivered: 6 1/3 innings and one earned run. That lone run against Gee was in part due to a one-out pop fly that fell for a hit.

2. 2B Justin Turner: Subbing for Daniel Murphy, Turner rapped out three hits in his first three at-bats. That made up for at-bat No. 4, when Mr. Call  Me Maybe grounded back to the pitcher with two outs and the tying run in scoring position.

3. C John Buck: After snubbing Buck in this space yesterday, I was tempted to include him here even before he hit a rocket-fueled homer off Huston Street to open the ninth. More importantly, Buck has called three good games in a row behind the plate.

Three Down:
1. OF Lucas Duda: Not a good day for The Dude, who struck out in all three of his at-bats before the Mets double-switched him out of the game. The last of those came in the sixth, when he stared at strike three with the tying run on second.

2. RHP Jeurys Familia: Familia’s season debut went like this: walk, single, wild pitch, run scored. Familia faced three batters, recorded one out and allowed a critical insurance run in the eighth.

3B David Wright: Sorry, Captain, but three strikeouts in three at-bats ain’t going to cut it with the rest of the offense scuffling around you. There will be better days for No. 5.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+1: OF Collin Cowgill, LHP Jon Niese, RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Dillon Gee, C John Buck, INF Justin Turner
-1: OF Jordany Valdespin, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RHP Greg Burke, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Jeurys Familia, 3B David Wright

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Matt Harvey has a growing fan club

Matt Harvey earning props from current and former pitchers around the league:

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets 8, Padres 4: Three Up, Three Down

Another game with lots of positives tonight for the Mets. But alas, in this space, only three players can be up and three must be down:

Three Up:
1. RHP Matt Harvey: He would be Three Up all by himself if it were not against the rules. But we’re a stickler for rules here, so Harvey goes +1 with a dominant seven-inning, one-hit, 10-strikeout performance.

2. OF Lucas Duda: Coming into the game, Duda had four home runs in 215 career at-bats against left-handers. He made that five in 215 with his two-run shot off Clayton Richard, adding a double and a walk later in the game.

3. 1B Ike Davis: The more impressive offensive stat line belonged to John Buck, but Davis sorely needed to snap his 0-for-the-season in Game 2. He did so with an absolute bomb, scraping the Shea Bridge with his two-run shot in the fifth.

Three Down:
1. SS Ruben Tejada: He struck out twice and hit two lazy flys in four hitless at-bats, then committed a throwing error in the ninth for good measure. Not good for a guy who spent his spring concentrating on hitting line drives and ground balls.

2. RHP Greg Burke: Burke relieved Harvey and gave up hits to the first two batters he saw — that’s twice as many as Harvey allowed all night, for those keeping track. To be fair, Burke did recover after that, generating consecutive ground balls to limit the damage to one run.

3. RHP LaTroy Hawkins: Same deal. Two straight hits to start the ninth, but recovered until Tejada’s error led to two more unearned runs. Say this about Burke and Hawkins: at least they didn’t walk anyone.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+1 OF Collin Cowgill
+1 LHP Jon Niese
+1 RHP Matt Harvey
+1 OF Lucas Duda
-1 OF Jordany Valdespin
-1 OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
-1 RHP Greg Burke
-1 RHP LaTroy Hawkins

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Citi Field food review: Pat LaFrieda Korean-style steamed buns

Stumbled upon a new Citi Field food item today: steamed Korean-style short-rib and chicken buns at the Pat LaFrieda location on the Promenade Level behind home plate. My take:

lafriedabuns

The three buns (two short-rib, one chicken) were delicious, packed with kimchi and other accoutrements, though for $15 I could have used a little more meat in each of them. It’s a great snack, but for the money I’d prefer something a bit heartier.

LaFrieda’s meat, according to a Mets press release last month, is “all marinated in a mouthwatering blend of ginger, soy, scallions and sesame oil.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

David Wright has his own bus now

Gray Line New York, which runs a sightseeing service in Manhattan, dedicated a bus to Mets third baseman David Wright today. Here are two pictures of him at the Citi Field dedication ceremony, courtesy photographer Simon Russell:

davidwrightbus

davidwrightbus2

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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