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Tuesday's Game Notes

Mike SteffanosTuesday, March 13, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

No television again, but some quick thoughts on today's game against the Indians:

Jason Vargas started the game and pitched 3 innings. The line was 3IP, 2ER, 3H, 2K, 2BB. He also gave up a home run to the immortal Ben Francisco. While he didn't earn himself a one-way ticket out of town (see Alay Soler), I think the chances have increased somewhat that he'll be in New Orleans come April. After a 1-2-3 first inning, Vargas retired the first two batters in the second before running into trouble. After Francisco took him deep, Vargas plunked Michael Aubrey and then wild-pitched him to second. He walked Hector Luna to dig the hole a little deeper, but induced Trevor Crowe to line out to Chavez and escaped further damage.

In his third and final inning Vargas retired the first two batters again, but a Travis Hafner double and a walk to Victor Martinez put him in trouble again, and Jhonny Peralta's single scored the third run against him. He got Francisco to fly out to end the inning and his workday.

Next up for the Mets was Ambiorix Burgos, who seems to have bounced back from giving up a grand slam earlier this spring. He wasn't scored on in two innings of work, though he did give up 3 hits and a walk to keep things lively. Getting Hafner to hit into a double play saved him from damage. Two of the hits came in his second inning of work, and while most of the time he will probably be asked to go one inning, he would probably help his cause to make the Mets out of camp if he demonstrated that he could give Randolph 2 quality innings out of the 'pen. With the uncertainty surrounding the starters, the Mets need versatility in the bullpen. When he gave up that slam earlier this spring it was also in his second inning of work.

Phil Humber was touched up for a run in his two innings of work. Hope he likes gumbo. Lino Urdaneta pitched a strong eighth inning, getting a groundout and 2 strikeouts, but when stretched to a second inning also struggled somewhat. With a 6-3 lead heading into the ninth, he allowed hits to Trevor Crowe and Jason Michaels sandwiched around a force out, then wild-pitched in both runners. He finally managed to retire the final batter and preserve a rare (at least lately) spring win for the Mets.

On the offensive side of things, Shawn Green homered off of Indians starter C. C. Sabathia. It was his only hit in 4 ABs, but at least he's shown some signs of life lately. Endy Chavez went 3-4 with a pair of ribbies, and Jose Reyes hit his third home run of the spring.

The Mets face the Tigers tomorrow in their third consecutive road game, hence no TV again. John Maine and Mike Pelfrey are scheduled to pitch.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (5)

The battle for the 5th rotation spot certainly seems to be a 2 horse race now. I hope Pelfrey only gets better this spring and takes it, but I have a feeling the Mets would prefer to use Park. Both Vargas and Humber will, and should, go down to New Orleans and get things in order. But I imagine one, if not both, will be used in critical spots this year, especially since the Mets have knocked Soler out of the mix.

It's good to see Green hitting a little bit, but I still hate the idea of him in RF while Alou limps around in LF. I suspect if Green is removed from RF at some point, a big reason may be his awful range in the outfield. It was easy to mask with Endy Chavez out in LF for most of his time with us in 2006, but it will get exposed heavily with the slow-footed Alou taking up more of Beltran's energy. I'm just becoming more and more concerned about our outfield defense for the upcoming season.

I guess I'm too focused on pitching to worry much about position guys right now--my bad, and no excuse. Cutting Soler, and Adkins to follow shortly will help the remaining staff focus just that li'l bit more. The five spot is Pelfrey's to lose, so let's wait and see how he does tomorrow: go Mikey Baby!

I honestly see Burgos and Smith joining the north-bound bullpen, barring the always possible meltdowns over the next week. Burgos' two scoreless innings today will obviously goose a Mets management already crazy about the guy, and who's had an unkind word to say about Joe Smith this spring?

Let the position guys fight it out and make it interesting; in the end, it's pitching that gets you into the post-season.

Good recap Mike,your ready for opening day.So we think its Glavin, El Duque, Maine and then Park? or Perez? then the fight for the 5th spot? My score card is all messed up. Is Joe Smith still in the running.When do they say amen and chip it in stone. What scares me is that we are not looking among solid starters to fill these spots. We are searching for bodys it seems, its not the best but thats the best we can do for now. Sorry I am just ratteling on I got up to early, I think I'll go back to bed for an hour and maybe wake up on the other side of the bed.See you later.

I am starting to think that Chan Ho Park was brought in as insurance for El Duque, not Perez or Pelfrey.

Also I am not thrilled that neither Humber nor Vargas have stepped up so far.

The Mets have the arms, eventually they should be able to work out a very servicable rotation. It's the early season that concerns me; last year's fast start was such a welcome change from most Mets seasons, I was sort of hoping for another.

Salman - Maybe it's a little early to call it a 2 horse race, but I would think someone would really have to step up and impress. I agree with you that the Mets would prefer to use Park and ease Pelfrey in a little later in the season, but if he keeps pitching like this he's going to be hard to send down.
geezer - I think Adkins will probably get a little more time, although he's probably ultimately gone. Unlike Soler he has a major league track record with some success.
Rev - It's good to be an early riser and all of that, but 2 AM is a little too early. You have my permission to sleep in until 4 tomorrow.
dd - I think everyone is insurance for everyone else on this pitching staff.

I don't see a real fast start this year. Hope I'm wrong.

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