NY Sports Dog: Good Morning Mets Fans! 3 Games Up!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Good Morning Mets Fans! 3 Games Up!

The Mets are a team that is easy to like for several reasons.

The main reason, at least for this writer, is that they play hard. The Mets run, play tight defense, hit well with nice power, and they have solid starting pitching and a capable bullpen.

The stats back it up...here's where the team stands in the NL:

  • 2nd in Runs Scored
  • 2nd in Stolen Bases
  • 3rd in Hits
  • 3rd in Walks
  • 3rd in Triples
  • 5th in Batting Average
  • 5th in OBP
As for the pitching staff, they are:
  • 5th in Team ERA
  • 6th in Strikeouts
  • 11th in Walks
The team has a 107 OPS+ and a 103 ERA+, so with all adjustments made and neutralized, the team is hitting and pitching above the median, but not so far above to justify their incredible play and record these last few months--there's more to it, but what?

That more is Jerry Manuel, who is the NY Sports Dog favorite for NL Manager of the Year.

Jerry's Mets are 45-26, a .634 winning percentage.

How good is that? Translated over an entire season it would mean 103 wins.

This after his predecessor had led the Mets to a 34-35 record.
  • Willie Randolph in 69 games: 34 wins
  • Jerry Manuel in 71 games: 45 wins
In the old "buy or sell" game I would quickly answer "buy" when it comes to Jerry Manuel, our pick for NL Manager of the Year.

Yesterday capped a stunning road trip for the Mets: 3 tough teams, a 6-2 record on the trip, and a sweep of the NL wild card leading Milwaukee Brewers. Perhaps more stunning was the fact that the Mets did it with 3 lefty's against the Brew Crew. Prior to this series the Brewers had gone 31-13 against lefty starters.

Ryan Church had a monkey on his back chattering in his ear--a certain Carlos Delgado was teasing Church about finding that nice power stroke he displayed earlier in the year.

Church found it with a first inning Grand Slam to put the Mets up 4-0--a lead they never gave up en route to another big win.

"Delgado, he was joking about it today, 'Hey, it's been a while, you haven't hit a home run in a while so why don't you get one today?'" Church said. "We shared a little laugh there when I touched home plate, 'Hey, I got it out of the way.'"

Ryan Church is a good guy, and it was nice to see him contribute in a big way to get his confidence back up for the final push to October.

"It's been a hectic year," Church said. "It's just something that I don't want to look at it and just throw this last month away. I want to build on things and try to get back to how I was in the first half and finish strong. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. I'm a big believer in that and hopefully that's what continues to happen.

"A lot of people had written me off saying I wasn't going to be able to play again. They thought my season was over. So I looked at it like, 'You know what, I'm going to show them.' I think day in and day out, it just gets better and better. Finally things are starting to come around."

In total the Mets pounded out 9 runs to finish the trip in style.

Jose Reyes continues his amazing season and blasted his major league leading 18th triple. He also stole a base and tied Mookie Wilson for the Mets all-time bags swipes lead. Figure Jose to break that record Friday night in front of the Shea faithful.

Brian Schneider, another key starter who has found his power stroke, followed Church with a dinger of his own. It was Schneider's 5th home run in his last 11 starts.

Schneider had a fine August in which he hit .286 with a .365 OBP and a stout .536 slugging percentage.

Any offense from Schneider is a bonus, and he has suddenly become a bonus baby.

On a day when the hits were spread out throughout the lineup the two "young'uns" made their presence known.

Daniel Murphy, who is suddenly very hot again, had two hits, a walk and scored two runs. Murphy has a .446 OBP on the year. His counterpart, Nick Evans, had a big pinch hit single that plated two and helped the Mets extend their lead. Evans hit over .300 in both July and August and he is becoming a pretty tough hombre at the plate.

The pitching was masterful and tough luck Ollie Perez, who had pitched well in his previous three outings with three no-decisions, got the win, his 10th of the year.

It is becoming more and more apparent that Ollie is something of a "must sign" this off-season.

At just 27 years old, he has a strong resume and, perhaps more importantly, is an oddity. There aren't too many lefthanded pitchers that are capable of going deep into games, giving the opposition such a different look, and striking out hitters the way Ollie can. He makes our staff better.

The bullpen had another great outing--they have now held the opposition without a run in their last 15 1/3 innings.

So now we all breathe. A well-deserved day off for all of Met Nation followed by what looks to be the series of the year (weather permitting).

The Phils lost to the Nats, so the Mets now stand 3 games up on their bitter rivals and the Phils will be out for blood.

The Mets realize the importance of this series and have big Mike Pelfrey on the hill against Brett Myers.

"It's important that we come out with the same intensity, the same focus after this off-day," Wright said. "We don't want to get lackadaisical. We want to come out with that same focus that we came out with on this series and on this whole trip."

Does it get any better than this? No way!

Enjoy your coffee!

N.Y. Mets (79-61) «6000000219100
Milwaukee (80-59)000001100260
Players of the Game
New York

D. Murphy
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0

New York

R. Church
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

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