Results tagged ‘ Hisanori Takahashi ’
Well, this one wasn’t actually egregious at all. Ike Davis finished seventh in National League Rookie of the Year voting and received two third-place votes, the best finish by any Met since Jay Payton finished third with 37 points back in 2000.
Pitchers Hisanori Takahashi and Jon Niese were also eligible for the Mets, though neither received votes. Here’s the complete tally:
Buster Posey of the Giants won the award with 129 total points and 20 first-place votes, narrowly beating out Jason Heyward of the Braves.
—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.
Time to grade some key Mets on their first-half performances. Without further ado:
Johan Santana: B
What a strange season for Santana, who alternated dominating stretches with periods of pure mediocrity. The overall results have been fine, though hardly ace-like. Safe to say the Mets are expecting more from Santana in the second half, with last winter’s surgery now squarely in his rear-view mirror.
Mike Pelfrey: A-
Ignore the past few rocky starts for a minute. If I told you before the season that Pelfrey would go 10-4 with a 3.58 ERA in the first half, I think you would have taken that. Truth is, without Pelfrey, the Mets might not be close to postseason contention.
Jon Niese: A-
Injury aside, Niese has been brilliant at times, and as consistent as any of the five Mets starters. Like Pelfrey, he has given the Mets more than they ever could have expected in Spring Training.
R.A. Dickey: A+
When the Mets signed Dickey, he was nothing more than aging organizational depth. Now he is a legitimate starting pitcher, a cog in the rotation and a key reason why the team is still in this thing. Dickey deserves as much credit as anyone.
Hisanori Takahashi: B+
Like every other starter not named Santana, Takahashi has given the Mets more than they ever dreamed. His few bad starts have handcuffed them, yes, but between his early-season bullpen appearances and his role in the rotation, Takahashi has been stellar.
Jose Reyes: B
Yes, the fact that Reyes made the All-Star team was remarkable considering all he had gone through in the preceding year and a half. But Reyes was useless to the Mets for the first month of the season, and he has done nothing to shed his injury-prone image. Got to dock him some points for that.
Angel Pagan: A
Leading the army of overachievers was Pagan, a player who has finally begun to fulfill his potential. The Mets hardly missed Carlos Beltran this season in large part because of Pagan, who played stellar offense and defense in his absence.
David Wright: A-
Just like that, he’s back to being an All-Star. The Mets have to be pleased with that, considering the miserable season Wright endured last year.
Ike Davis: B
He’s gotten more credit than perhaps he’s deserved, considering his pedestrian offensive numbers. But Davis has played a solid first base while giving the Mets a measure of offensive pop from the position. That’s something worthwhile.
Jason Bay: C
The Mets’ one big free agent acquisition has been something of a bust. Bay is not hitting for power, and that’s the one thing he’s supposed to do well. Now down to sixth in the lineup, Bay must bust out for the Mets to succeed.
Rod Barajas: B
After a hot start, Barajas has cooled off plenty. But he did carry the Met offense for much of the early season, and he deserves some credit for the success of the pitching staff.
Jeff Francoeur: C
Other than his rocket right arm, Francoeur has contributed little to the Mets this season. Now, with Beltran back, he’s going to lose significant playing time because of it.
Luis Castillo: D
After justifying a portion of his contract with a strong year last season, Castillo has reverted back to an old, broken-down second baseman. He’s on the DL now, and there’s no telling how much he’ll be able to help when he returns.
Gary Matthews, Jr., Frank Catalanotto and Fernando Tatis were all massively ineffective during their time with the team. Chris Carter helped for a while but has since faded. The Mets have yet to find a pinch-hitter who can give them consistently good at-bats. The one player here who deserves mention is Henry Blanco, who has worked well with the pitching staff while providing better-than-expected offense when he plays.
Francisco Rodriguez has walked a tight rope all season but ultimately has gotten the job done — and quite well, if you consider his numbers. Pedro Feliciano was overexposed against right-handed hitters, but has been just as effective as ever against lefties. Other than those two, the Mets have found no consistent answers in the back end of their bullpen. It’s the most conspicuous weakness for the team heading into the second half.
—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.
For left-handed pitchers, the scouting report on nearly every left-handed power hitter is that they are susceptible to breaking balls. High up on the “What Not To Do” list is throw a changeup.
Yet Hisanori Takahashi did not heed that advice Wednesday against the Phillies, whiffing Ryan Howard in the sixth inning on a dandy of a changeup, the pitch breaking down and in toward Howard. Indeed, Takahashi challenged Philadelphia’s left-handed hitters with changeups all night, shunning conventional wisdom every step of the way.
“I’m the type of guy who likes to pitch to my pitcher’s strength, and not necessarily the hitter’s weakness,” catcher Rod Barajas said. “And his strength is a changeup.”
Barajas, a right-handed hitter, recalled facing Takahashi in an intrasquad game this spring and expecting him to throw two consecutive changeups.
“He threw them, and I swung and missed at both of them,” Barajas said. “That’s what he does. He does that well. It’s not the norm to see a lefty-lefty changeup. But when you have a guy who’s got such a good changeup and that’s his money pitch, you’re not going to put it on the back burner and forget about it.”
—–Follow along on Twitter @anthonydicomo.
In sum, Hisanori Takahashi’s repertoire includes six pitches: a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, changeup, curveball, slider and sinker. And variations thereof.
“It’s almost like it’s a videogame,” said Rod Barajas, who caught Takahashi’s six scoreless innings Friday night. “You can control it. You can make the ball move wherever you want to different locations. You have a comfort level as a catcher because regardless of the count, you can call anything and there’s a good chance it’s going to be a strike.”
In his big league starting debut, Takahashi struck out Nick Swisher and Derek Jeter on what Barajas called his best pitch: a late-moving changeup that breaks away from right-handed hitters.
“The changeup is probably his pitch,” Barajas said. “It has that tumbling, late sink on it where it’s there one second, you go to swing at it and it just kind of disappears at the last moment.”
Though wasn’t ready to come out and say it, Jerry Manuel seemed all but committed to removing Oliver Perez from the Mets rotation after Perez’s latest stinker Friday night in Miami.
But who might replace him?
THE FAVORITE: Hisanori Takahashi, LHP
You know Takahashi for his versatility out of the bullpen, giving the Mets everything from three innings of stellar relief to some one-batter reprieves. But Takahashi, 35, was previously a rotation stalwart in Japan, going 10-6 with a 2.94 ERA last season for the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Central League. Two years earlier, he was 14-4 with a 2.75 mark, throwing 186 2/3 innings. Could Takahashi replicate those numbers with the Mets? Of course not. Major League hitters are stronger and more advanced. But once stretched out, a process that would take a few weeks, Takahashi could certainly act as a serviceable fifth starter — something Perez was unable to do.
THE SAFE BET: Pat Misch, LHP
Giving the injury-ravaged Mets 59 valuable innings down the stretch last season, Misch, 28, proved that he could (somewhat) hang with the big boys, going 3-4 with a 4.12 ERA. Given another opportunity, Misch — who has a 2-0 record and 4.15 ERA through six starts for Triple-A Buffalo — would probably give the Mets more of the same. It’s unlikely that he would thrive in the Majors, but it’s equally unlikely that he would get blown out of the stadium. Those aren’t bad traits to have for a fifth starter, which is precisely what the Mets need. But his raw stuff is not as good as that of Takahashi.
THE DARK HORSE: R.A. Dickey, RHP
He’s a knuckleballer, which tells you all you need to know about Dickey, really. Born without an ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, Dickey reinvented himself with the fluttering pitch earlier this decade, and has seen some tangible success at Triple-A this season: a 4-2 record and 2.23 ERA, including a complete game one-hitter last month. It would be a neat story if Dickey returned to the big leagues and flourished as a knuckleballer, even for a while. But the Mets have more dynamic (Takahashi) and safer (Misch) options, so it’s unlikely they will go down this route, even despite Dickey’s recent success.
Ryota Igarashi has thrown off a mound on multiple occasions and “is getting close” to a rehab assignment, according to Mets assistant general manager John Ricco.
Igarashi, who went on the disabled list April 21 with a strained left hamstring, posted a 1.35 ERA in seven games before the injury. Inked to a two-year, $3 million contract this past offseason, Igarashi spent early April working his way into the Mets’ late-game plans.
When he returns, he will open up several options for the Mets. Assuming Igarashi falls back into a setup tandem with lefty Pedro Feliciano, his presence would free the Mets to:
- Stop overusing Fernando Nieve in late-game situations
- Move Jenrry Mejia to Triple-A, where he could stretch out as a starter
- Move Hisanori Takahashi into the starting rotation in place of Oliver Perez
Don’t get too excited, though — the Mets have shown zero desire to do any of those things, and don’t appear close to doing any of them even with Igarashi in the fold. But Igarashi’s presence, assuming it comes this month, will provide the Mets’ pitching staff with a modicum of flexibility.