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Wagner Stinks It Up

Mike SteffanosThursday, March 22, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Aaron Sele started the game against the Braves today. Surprisingly enough, he only gave up an earned run in 5 innings of work. Considering that, after a terrible first inning, he pitched 5 shutout innings last time out, he is on somewhat of a roll. While the fifth starter's job would seem to be a long shot, the long reliever spot in the bullpen is still open.

Sele's final line: 5IP, 1ER, 2H, 1K, 2BB

Scott Schoeneweiss relieved Sele in the sixth and was touched up for a run on doubles by Chris Woodward and Larry Jones.

Billy Wagner came into the game with the Mets down 2-1 in the seventh and proceeded to nail it down -- for the Braves. After retiring Craig Wilson leading off the inning on a called strike 3, Wagner allowed consecutive singles to immortals Doug Clark and Bill McCarthy. Martin Prado doubled home a run, and another run scored on a fielder's choice. Tony Pena's 3-run homer capped the inning off, and Wagner finally settled down to get the last 2 outs. I wonder if Wagner was throwing his split change today?

Joe Smith pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the Mets, striking out two.

Orlando Hernandez takes the hill for his third start of the spring tomorrow in St. Lucie against the Cardinals. We should get a better idea about where he stands after that one. The game will be televised on SNY at 1 PM.

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 (17)

Mike you're one of my favorite writers. I enjoy reading all your updates, and stories..

I myself have started my own mets blog..

The site is


Noticed that the Mets had Maine and Glavine pitching in simulated games, rather than against, you know, other teams. Why don't they go ahead and announce that Maine's got a job in the Starting Ro?

And how come nobody yet has said those magic words uttered about this time every spring since god was a teenager: "dead arm"....?

Thanks, John. I'll link back next time I update my site.
dd - When he sucks during the season I'll worry about it. Speaking of dead arms, though, how about Freddy Garcia?

haha im so happy the mets didint get Garcia, Im not going to lie I wanted him, but it seems like Omar did a good job in not trading for him.

I love your line,but not the reality of it;Wagner proceeded to nail it down.......for the Braves. It made me smile. Is he still trying new pitches? I like Joe Smith, he made me smile today also.Thats a nice ninth inning, 1-2-3.

Hi Mike:

1. Sele: I like Sele. He fits Omar's reprise role, and ala Oliver last yr has won consideration for that 6th starter, long man role. Pelfrey, has earned the right to break camp as a Met, and Sele's recent history suggests he can pitch effectively for periods of time.
If sele wins a job, it allows extended rest, caution or insurance for ElDuque. also Park has impressed no one. Sosa could potentially be a righty short reliever in the role Sanchez, Mota and Padilla are not ready to fill.

2. Another camp success is Valentin who is hitting .333 unlike last yr in camp/early season. Ruben Gotay also has been interesting showing some flashes.

3. Metstradamus has weighed in on the OF. I enjoyed that read. The kudos for Lastings' spring are becoming more apparent.

Jamey Wright if not on the 40 man roster by Mar.28th can elect free agency. The Mets are a team he spoke to this winter. Well! what do they say about two wrights?

OK, Wagner is officially beginning to worry me. And maybe his performance in last year's playoffs - following a regular season of far too-few easy innings - is keeping me from brushing off his ugly spring, but I have a question...

If Wagner is bad this season, and given Willie's tendency to stick with vets, and given the money they're paying him, how far down to we ride him?

Don't jump all over me for making too much out of his struggles... there was ample talk last year around the league that his finger issue may be degererative, or at least far worse than anyone let on last year.

Having said all of that... how good is Jose Reyes? Now I feel better.

ajsmith, you're not the first, nor will be the last to worry about Wags. Pick one:

- Stuff happens
- It's only ST
- He always has a crummy ST
- "****ing Braves!"
- One of his Llamas ate his homework
- This close to Disney World, who can concentrate?!

Me, I'll go with the hoary, age-encrusted standby: "Better he get it outta his system now than in the regular season, when it would actually count."

John - I was happy they didn't trade Humber or Pelfrey for Garcia. The second half of last year all you heard about was his velocity had dropped into the 80s, and that's where he's been all spring.
Al - I don't worry about Wagner much yet. He's never good in spring training. I'll bet you he doesn't use that changeup much at all once the season starts.
Ed - I agree that Sele could win the long man job, but I think Sosa would be a disaster in the short man role. Too many mistakes.
Al - If it was up to me I think I'd pass on the second Wright.
ajsmith - Wait until the season starts to worry about Wagner. He really isn't a guy who ever does very well in the spring. Hopefully if Wagner does have lingering injury problems Sanchez or Heilman can close and someone else steps up to take their role.
geezer - Sometimes I wish he would worry more about his pitching and less about what's going on in Philly.

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I don't know what to think about Wags right now. Is he hurting? Is he experimenting? Is this just ST blahs? I do believe however, that he will get it together and have a better year this season. Last year was an adjustment, he still had baggage from the Philly split plus he was now on their division rivals staff. He still managed 40 saves, not all pretty or 1-2-3, but closed none the less. It's his supporting staff that is more of a concern after Heilman, Schow, Feliciano, it does not look all that promising. Padilla, Sanchez, and Mota, all the hard throwing righthanders are not going to be available Opening Day. Sosa hits many bats with his pitches. Burgos does not trust his stuff, but I beleive a little time in New Orleans can do him good. Sele had a rough start but is pulling it together, it seems. Park has shown nothing to impress himself, less more anyone on the Mets. Adkins is out of options. Urdeneta and Smith are the only ones whom have disitinguished them selves and the brass is now say they don't want to rush Smith and what is the confidence level in Urdeneta? So many decisions so little time.

Hi MIke- You know I HATE Wagner always have. He should be in game shape with the season just 9 days away.
If he is working on that new split finger, and it's the reason for yesterday's massacre of a decent start by Sele, he better retire it in a hurry.

LoveEmHateEm - As I said, I'm not going to judge Wagner until the season starts.
L.J. Phipps - I still think the bullpen will be fine. I think sometimes we read more into spring exhibition games than we should. I do, however, think it might take some time (and a personnel change or two) before the bullpen shakes out.
Shari - I was joking about the split change in my story. Since the game wasn't even on radio I have no idea what he was throwing. I do think he needs a third pitch -- I said it last year on that Mets Daily roundtable -- and I'm willing to live with the growing pains while he develops it.

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LoveEmHateEm - this blog is about sports, and it's about fun. I wasn't killing Wagner, just using some humor to write about the game. I've defended Wagner -- who I like -- here plenty. I could really freaking care less whether you approve or not the manner in which I write about the Mets, and I'm not going to waste my time defending myself to you.

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