May 2013

Reds 4, Mets 0: Three Up, Three Down

“Boo,” the fans at Citi Field say to Ike Davis. “Boo.”

Three Up:
1. OF Lucas Duda: Duda was the only Mets player to reach base safely more than once, which says more about the rest of the team than it does about Duda.

2. LHP Scott Rice: This guy pitches every day, and he just continues to pitch well. More than a great story for Rice, it’s a boon for the bullpen.

3. C John Buck: He and Jon Niese made the necessary adjustments after a tough first inning, and Buck added what should have been an RBI double in the fourth. It wasn’t.

Three Down:
1. 3B David Wright: His error, plain and simple, lost the Mets the game. And it was an easily-preventable error, a ball right through his legs. Wright also finished 0-for-4 at the plate.

2. 1B Ike Davis: Another hitless game for Davis, including a groundout with two men in scoring position and two outs in the fourth. The boos at Citi Field are growing in intensity.

3. OF Rick Ankiel: So much for that little hitting streak. Ankiel finished 0-for-4 with — guess what? — a strikeout.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
RHP Matt Harvey
+5
OF Marlon Byrd, C John Buck, 3B David Wright

+3
INF Justin Turner, 2B Daniel Murphy

+2
RHP LaTroy Hawkins, OF Mike Baxter, OF Juan Lagares, LHP Scott Rice
+1
LHP Jon Niese, LHP Robert Carson, RHP Jeremy Hefner, RHP Greg Burke
-1
RHP Collin McHugh
-2
LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Shaun Marcum, OF Jordany Valdespin, C Anthony Recker, SS Ruben Tejada
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

-4
LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Dillon Gee
-13
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Reds 4, Mets 3: Three Up, Three Down

Still no offense. Still no offense.

Three Up:
1. OF Marlon Byrd: Byrd’s three-run homer off Johnny Cueto was the only offensive spark for the Mets, who continue to struggle consistently at the plate.

2. OF Rick Ankiel: In the lineup due to his success against Cueto, Ankiel reached base in each of his first two at-bats. That might be enough for the Mets to try him out in the two hole again.

3. RHP Greg Burke: This is more a makeup call for last weekend in Chicago, where Burke continued to establish himself as a consistent performer. He has not allowed a run since returning from Triple-A Las Vegas.

Three Down:
1. 1B Ike Davis: Another 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, plus an obstruction call at first base. Even at the nadir of his slump last season, Davis never struggled on defense to the extent he is now.

2. 2B Daniel Murphy: All hot streaks must come to an end; Murphy’s came crashing down with an 0-for-4 performance, including a key strikeout in the seventh inning with the tying run in scoring position.

3. SS Ruben Tejada: Tejada looks absolutely lost offensively, and he’s not enough of a difference-maker on defense to make up for it. At what point do the Mets consider giving Justin Turner some starts at short?

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
RHP Matt Harvey, 3B David Wright
+5
OF Marlon Byrd

+4
C John Buck
+3
INF Justin Turner, 2B Daniel Murphy

+2
RHP LaTroy Hawkins, OF Mike Baxter, OF Juan Lagares
+1
LHP Scott Rice, LHP Jon Niese, LHP Robert Carson, RHP Jeremy Hefner, OF Rick Ankiel, RHP Greg Burke
-1
OF Lucas Duda, RHP Collin McHugh
-2
LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Shaun Marcum, OF Jordany Valdespin, C Anthony Recker, SS Ruben Tejada
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

-4
LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Dillon Gee
-12
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Ike to co-host charity golf tournament for Sandy relief

From the MLBPA:

New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis and New York Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson are representing their peers and going to bat for Superstorm Sandy victims, when they co-host a Players Trust all-star golf tournament on Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, Long Island on Wednesday, July 17.

Golfers and baseball fans alike will be able to combine two of America’s greatest passions during an unforgettable day on one of the country’s most famous golf courses – Bethpage Black – while helping Major Leaguers and the Players Trust raise funds to support Superstorm Sandy recovery and rebuilding efforts.  Already scheduled to join Ike and David in their efforts to help Sandy victims are former big leaguers Bobby Bonilla, Aaron Boone, Ron Darling, Ken Griffey Jr., Al Leiter and Jeff Nelson.  Additional players joining the cause will be announced on an ongoing basis.  

“I’m looking forward to teaming up with David Robertson, the Players Trust, and members of the fraternity of Major League baseball players, to help raise funds and awareness for Superstorm Sandy victims,” stated Ike.  “This July, New York will become the center of the baseball universe, and it’s only fitting that the baseball-playing community use this as an opportunity to assist the thousands of people in the area impacted by the storm who support our great game on a daily basis.”

“As Major League baseball players we’re given a stage to help raise awareness for victims of natural disasters long after the immediate attention subsides,” said David, who, along with his wife, Erin, created the High Socks for Hope foundation to lend support to those suffering in the wake of natural disasters, including Sandy. “I’m looking forward to joining forces with Ike Davis and a who’s-who list of former big leaguers to do our part to help communities still suffering from the effects of such a devastating storm.”

The Players Trust all-star golf tournament on Bethpage Black is part of the non-profit’s Disaster Relief programming efforts. In addition to what many players have done individually, Major Leaguers have committed up to $500,000 in aid from the Players Trust to non-profit organizations helping victims of Sandy recover from the destruction.  To date, the Players Trust has directly contributed more than $175,000 to various organizations providing needed assistance to storm victims.  Among those receiving funds are Red Hook Initiative (Brooklyn); Project Hospitality (Staten Island); Rockaway Reach (Rockaway, NY); NJ 2-1-1 (New Jersey); Pitch In for Baseball and Points of Light’s Long Island Recovery Volunteer Center.  A separate $100,000 contribution from the Players Trust to New York State’s Natural Heritage Trust will go toward the removal of hundreds of downed trees and improvements to damaged turf on public golf courses.

On November 2, 2012, Major Leaguers joined forces with the Commissioner’s Office in contributing a combined $1 million to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Feeding America to assist emergency relief efforts in the most devastated areas along the East Coast affected by Sandy. On May 9, the MLBPA and MLB-operated Baseball Tomorrow Fund joined with the New York Mets Foundation to contribute up to $1 million through a relief grant program for youth baseball and softball organizations that were directly affected by the storm.

Golf tournament participation levels begin with the $8,000 Single, which includes one foursome with a celebrity pairing, a unique, gift-filled SWAG bag and photo for each golfer, and four tickets to the post-event dinner, to be held at luxurious Carlyle on the Green. Double, Triple and Home Run sponsorship levels are also available, and each includes tickets to the Trust’s exclusive 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game viewing party to be held the night before the golf tournament at the St. Giles Hotel and attended by many of the celebrity golfers. Portions of the costs are tax deductible.

Since hurricanes struck the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3 million in the wake of natural disasters in the U.S., Haiti and Japan, long after the spotlight faded.  These funds have been used by non-profit organizations to provide and/or sustain services and aid such as senior housing, mobile medical units and after school programs in the Gulf Coast; improved drinking water, medical supplies, prosthetics and training in Haiti; mobile community cafes, organic agriculture, mental health clinics and volunteer centers in Japan and new homes for families in tornado-ravaged Tuscaloosa, AL and Joplin, MO.

***

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets win two of three in Chicago: Three Up, Three Down

A delayed reaction to this weekend’s series in Chicago:

Friday: Mets 3, Cubs 2
Three Up: RHP Matt Harvey, 3B David Wright, OF Marlon Byrd
Three Down: LHP Scott Rice, SS Ruben Tejada, C John Buck

Saturday: Cubs 8, Mets 2
Three Up: 2B Daniel Murphy, OF Rick Ankiel, LHP Robert Carson
Three Down: RHP Jeremy Hefner, 1B Ike Davis, RHP Collin McHugh

Sunday: Mets 4, Cubs 3
Three Up: OF Juan Lagares, 2B Daniel Murphy, LHP Scott Rice
Three Down: RHP Dillon Gee, 2B Justin Turner, C Anthony Recker

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
RHP Matt Harvey, 3B David Wright

+4
OF Marlon Byrd, C John Buck, 2B Daniel Murphy
+3
INF Justin Turner

+2
RHP LaTroy Hawkins, OF Mike Baxter, OF Juan Lagares
+1
LHP Scott Rice, LHP Jon Niese, LHP Robert Carson, RHP Jeremy Hefner
-1
OF Lucas Duda, SS Ruben Tejada, RHP Collin McHugh
-2
LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Shaun Marcum, OF Jordany Valdespin, C Anthony Recker
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

-4
LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Dillon Gee
-11
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets 5, Cardinals 2: Three Up, Three Down

Turns out the Mets can score more than four runs in a game.

Three Up:
1. LHP Jon Niese: Niese spent the past week practicing his mechanics in front of a mirror, and it appears to have paid off. Neither of the two runs that Niese allowed was entirely his fault.

2. 2B Daniel Murphy: How’s this for streaky: since snapping his 0-for-17 skid last Sunday, Niese has gone 11-for-17 with four doubles, three RBI and four runs scored. Consistency is overrated.

3. 3B David Wright: What a steady producer Wright has been this season. He has not carried the Mets like he did in the first half last year, but the Mets will be fine with that as long as he remains steady throughout the second half.

Three Down:
1. 1B Ike Davis: He’s 0-for-22 since manager Terry Collins gave him a vote of confidence in the cleanup spot, and Collins has only promised him a run of games there through this weekend. After that, things could get ugly.

2. OF Rick Ankiel: The Mets claimed they signed Ankiel for his defense, but the newcomer has now cost the Mets twice in three games. Thursday’s misplay may have partially been Jordany Valdespin’s fault, but as the center fielder, Ankiel needs to call him off.

3. OF Jordany Valdespin: Can we give Ike two down here? No? Then this down goes to Valdespin for the aforementioned foul ball and for his inexplicable bunt attempt in the seventh inning. His drag bunt was nice, but the other stuff outweighed it.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+5
RHP Matt Harvey, C John Buck, 3B David Wright
+4
IF Justin Turner
+3
OF Marlon Byrd

+2
RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Jeremy Hefner, OF Mike Baxter, 2B Daniel Murphy
+1
OF Juan Lagares, LHP Scott Rice, LHP Jon Niese
-1
C Anthony Recker, OF Lucas Duda, OF Rick Ankiel
-2
LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Shaun Marcum, OF Jordany Valdespin
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RHP Dillon Gee

-4
LHP Josh Edgin
-10
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Cardinals 4, Mets 2: Three Up, Three Down

CTRL+C, CTRL+V.

Three Up:
1. RHP Shaun Marcum: It was not pretty or perfect, but Marcum’s outing was by far his best of the year. A few more like that, and the Mets may yet see some return on their $4 million investment.

2. OF Rick Ankiel: The Mets signed Ankiel hoping for an offensive spark, and he gave them one with a game-tying, two-run homer in the seventh inning. Only problem was, the Mets could not turn that spark into fire.

3. 2B Daniel Murphy: What a sad state of things when Murphy’s 1-for-4 night with a double and a stolen base was the Mets’ third-best individual performance. The Mets need to take better advantage of Murphy’s sudden offensive hot streak.

Three Down:
1. 3B David Wright: Three whiffs at the plate and a critical error on defense made this a bad night for Wright. And when it’s a bad night for Wright, it’s usually a bad night for the Mets.

2. C John Buck: As usual, Buck is the first to admit he shoulda-coulda-woulda corralled Scott Rice’s wild pitch in the seventh. Buck also made an ill-advised stolen base attempt in the fourth inning, though he did single and score later in the game.

3. OF Mike Baxter: Something about the leadoff spot does not mesh with Baxter, who is now 3-for-29 in that role. Baxter’s poor relay throw in the fourth inning also forced Murphy to throw to third instead of home.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+5
RHP Matt Harvey, C John Buck
+4
IF Justin Turner, 3B David Wright
+3
OF Marlon Byrd

+2
RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Jeremy Hefner, OF Mike Baxter
+1
OF Juan Lagares, LHP Scott Rice, 2B Daniel Murphy
-1
C Anthony Recker, OF Jordany Valdespin, OF Lucas Duda
-2
LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Shaun Marcum
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RHP Dillon Gee

-4
LHP Josh Edgin
-9
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Cardinals 10, Mets 4: Three Up, Three Down

How deep does this rabbit hole go?

Three Up:
1. 2B Daniel Murphy: The Mets officially have a nominee for Streakiest Hitter in Baseball. Since snapping last week’s 0-for-17 skid at the plate, Murphy has gone 6-for-9 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored.

2. OF Marlon Byrd: Something clicked for Byrd after he jammed his shoulder into the right-field wall attempting to catch a foul ball in the fifth. An inning later, he hit a two-run home run, one of Byrd’s two extra-base hits on the night.

3. RHP Greg Burke: Good for Burke, who has now given the Mets 2 1/3 scoreless innings since returning from Triple-A Las Vegas. Another inning or two, and this may take the form of real progress for the submariner.

Three Down:
1. RHP Dillon Gee: After giving up another six runs in four innings, Gee sounded like a pitcher who was completely out of answers. He’ll need to find some before his next start, or risk losing his grip on a rotation spot.

2. LHP Robert Carson: Like Gee, Carson has displayed an utter inability to get batters out with any sort of consistency. There’s certainly talent here, but Carson needs to figure out how to tap it if he wants to stay at this level.

3. 1B Ike Davis: Another forgettable day for Davis, who finished 0-for-4 at the plate and committed a (at the time) critical throwing error to spark a first-inning Cardinals rally. Considering how badly he has slumped offensively, Davis needs to be perfect on defense.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
C John Buck
+5
3B David Wright, RHP Matt Harvey
+4
IF Justin Turner
+3
OF Mike Baxter, OF Marlon Byrd

+2
RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Jeremy Hefner
+1
OF Juan Lagares, LHP Scott Rice
-1
C Anthony Recker, OF Jordany Valdespin, OF Lucas Duda, OF Rick Ankiel
-2
LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP Scott Atchison
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RHP Shaun Marcum, RHP Dillon Gee

-4
LHP Josh Edgin
-9
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Matt Harvey on the cover of Sports Illustrated

Image courtesy Sports Illustrated:

harveySI

It did not take Harvey long to respond:

 

 

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Cardinals 6, Mets 3: Three Up, Three Down

Blame Jon Niese’s glove?

Three Up:
1. RHP Jeremy Hefner: Yet again, Hefner gave the Mets a chance to win, which is all they can ask out of their fifth starter. The Cardinals had Hefner on the ropes early, but he made the necessarily adjustments to provide six quality innings.

2. 2B Daniel Murphy: This guy is so streaky that even his streaks have streaks. Murphy is 4-for-5 since emerging from last week’s massive funk; who knows how far the second baseman will take this?

3. RHP Greg Burke: Somebody had to put out the fire at Busch Stadium. It happened to be Burke. We’ll see if this is an isolated outing, or an example of real long-term growth from the adjustments he made at Las Vegas.

Three Down:
1. OF Rick Ankiel: Catching Ty Wigginton’s double would not have been easy, but Ankiel took a somewhat circuitous route to the ball. Throw in his two strikeouts in three at-bats, and this was hardly the Mets debut that he wanted.

2. RHP Scott Atchison: As if allowing hard-hit balls to all three batters he faced was not enough, Atchison revealed afterward that he couldn’t feel his fingers thanks to a torn elbow ligament. Never a good sign.

3. LHP Scott Rice: The fact that Rice took his third loss was at least partially Ankiel’s fault. But Rice also committed a critical blunder, failing to cover home on the ball that kicked off his foot.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
C John Buck
+5
3B David Wright, RHP Matt Harvey
+4
IF Justin Turner
+3
OF Mike Baxter

+2
RHP LaTroy Hawkins, OF Marlon Byrd, RHP Jeremy Hefner
+1
OF Juan Lagares, LHP Robert Carson, LHP Scott Rice
-1
C Anthony Recker, OF Jordany Valdespin, OF Lucas Duda, OF Rick Ankiel, 2B Daniel Murphy, RHP Greg Burke
-2
LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Dillon Gee, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP Scott Atchison
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RHP Shaun Marcum

-4
LHP Josh Edgin
-8
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Pirates 3, Mets 2: Three Up, Three Down

Meet the new lineup, same as the old lineup.

Three Up:
1. RHP Matt Harvey: Clearly pitching without his best stuff, Harvey still managed to hold the Pirates to two runs in seven innings. He is without question the ace of this staff.

2. OF Lucas Duda: Duda was the only one who could touch Pirates starter Jeanmar Gomez, homering in the second. And he nearly tied the game with a rocket ground ball off the first base bag in the eighth. Instead, an unlucky bounce led to the out.

3. OF Mike Baxter: Despite starting only two games over the past week, Baxter has come through with two game-winning and one game-tying RBI. Calls for increased playing time are not off-base.

Three Down:
1. 1B Ike Davis: Terry Collins put the onus on Davis when he moved him back to the cleanup spot. The first baseman responded with an 0-for-4 day, including a huge strikeout with a man on third base and one out in the ninth.

2. RHP Bobby Parnell: Collins put Parnell in a tough spot, bringing him in with the go-ahead run in scoring position in the eighth. All it took was a hard-hit single, which the closer allowed to Pedro Alvarez.

3. RHP Brandon Lyon: He and Scott Rice each faced two batters, walking one of them. But while Rice’s walk came against perennial All-Star Andrew McCutchen, Lyon’s came against Gaby Sanchez, a .167 hitter against right-handed pitching.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
C John Buck
+5
3B David Wright, RHP Matt Harvey
+4
IF Justin Turner
+3
OF Mike Baxter

+2
RHP LaTroy Hawkins, LHP Scott Rice, OF Marlon Byrd
+1
RHP Jeremy Hefner, OF Juan Lagares, LHP Robert Carson
-1
RHP Scott Atchison, C Anthony Recker, OF Jordany Valdespin, OF Lucas Duda
-2
RHP Greg Burke, LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Dillon Gee, 2B Daniel Murphy, RHP Brandon Lyon
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RHP Shaun Marcum

-4
LHP Josh Edgin
-8
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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