First and foremost, including Gil Hodges was a non-starter. Sure, he was an original Met. That meant he played on the worst team in MLB history. He also turned the franchise around as a manager and was in the dugout when the Miracle Mets won the 1969 World Series. He also died too young. Lastly, the number 14 was retired in his honor.
One of Hodges’ players on the ’69 Mets was Ron Swoboda. That was also a non-starter as he was a key member of the 1969 team. I know he wore 4 that year, but that was because Hodges took it back. In any event, the infusion of Swoboda would’ve been nonsense with this catch (1:24 mark):
That left Ken Boyer:
Now, Boyer is a borderline Hall of Famer. However, in the great tradition of Mets acquisitions, he was better elsewhere, much better.
Boyer might have been a five time Gd Gliver, an MVP, and seven time All Star, but he was an also-ran with the Mets. A career .287/.349/.462 hitter would hit .266/.304/.415 in 1966 and .235/.335/.355 in 1967 before he was traded to the White Sox. He was not Ken Boyer in Flushing.
In 1966, the Mets finished in ninth place (the penultimate place) with a 66-95 record. In 1967, the Mets finished in last place with a 61-101 record. Boyer was a sign of the rough times. assured, he could be in the Hall, but certainly not fur his play with the Mets.
So without further ado, let’s all offer a hat tip to Magic Number 14, Ken Boyer.
This was the Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes Show. With the offense scuffling tonight, they accounted for four of the Mets five runs. It showed why Cespedes receives the MVP talk while Granderson is truly the Mets’ MVP.
In the third, Granderson walked and scored on a Cespedes double. In the fifth, Granderson scored on a balk after being moved to second on a Cespedes single and Daniel Murphy ground out (he was absolutely robbed of an RBI double by Freddie Freeman. He scored for the last time on a laser homerun by Cespedes in the ninth.
Even though Steven Matz looked to be fitting himself and an inconsistent umpire, he only allowed one earned run in five innings. While Matz may not have been great, it was impressive he was able to get though five innings.
Erik Goeddel pitched a 1-2-3 sixth despite letting up two deep fly balls. Addison Reed pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, further showing he’s the seventh inning guy. Tyler Clippard did his usual good work in the eighth. Jeurys Familia recorded his 40th save securing the 5-1 win.
The only concern from the game was Murphy’s leg. He probably would’ve been safe on Freeman’s play if he was able to run full speed. As Keith Hernandez pointed out, Murphy seemed to be slow and since after his seventh inning single. Terry Collins may need to find him a couple of more days.
Overall, it was an ugly win, but a win nevertheless. It was good enough to increase the lead to 8.5 games.
Before the game, the Braves had a nice ceremony commemorating 9/11. They even showed the Mike Piazza homerun, which happened against them. They also wore the First Responder caps in batting practice, which they will auction off for charity. While I’ll criticize the Mets players and MLB, I’ll compliment the Braves here.
The Braves also had a wonderful rendition of “God Bless America.” They represented baseball and the country well.
Now batting for the New York Mets, the short stop, Wilmer Flores!
Please note, this was not posted at its usual time as I felt it was not appropriate to do so during the moments of silence.
Initially, Hansel Robles was supposed to be a stop gap when Jerry Blevins was injured. He was only supposed to be up until the Mets could find a left-handed replacement. He was only supposed to be up until Vic Black and Bobby Parnell was ready.
He was recommended by Wally Backman because he was “really throwing the ball good.” Terry Collins liked him from Spring Training because he had a good arm, and how he responded to his demotion. It’s probably why he was promoted over seemingly more logical options like Jack Leathersich and Zack Thornton.
Well, Robles has stuck. He’s shown a 94+ MPH fastball. He’s striking out a little more than one batter per inning. He’s 1.014 WHIP is pretty good. However, none of that is his trademark. His trademark is his quick pitch. A page right out of the LaTroy Hawkins handbook. There’s no stopping him, not even his catcher, Travis d’Arnaud.
Once the batter is in the box, he’s pitching. There’s nothing illegal about it, but boy dies it get the opposition hopping mad. He’s psyching out the opponents. He’s getting better.
Robles was good in the first half limiting batters to a triple slash line of .214/.287/.321. In the second half, he’s only allowed a triple slash line of .171/.236/.427. His WHIP dropped from 1.191 to 0.845. He’s gone from 7.5 K/9 to 11.8. What’s even better is he has no platoon splits. That’s not true. He had a bit of a reverse platoon split. Righties are hitting .215/.300/.430, and lefties are hitting .153/.190/.271.
If not for the Addison Reed addition, Robles would be the leading candidate for the seventh inning. Now? He’s the top guy in the pen in the sixth inning and pressure situations. He’s pretty much a lock for the postseason roster. Not too bad for a guy who was never supposed to be here and never was supposed to stick.
I’m looking forward to him quick pitching the Mets to a World Series title.
Ankiel first presented himself into Mets’ lore by blowing up again in Game 2 of the 2000 NLCS. He would only go 0.1 innings with two wild pitches, three walks, and two earned. The Mets would go and win 6-5 en route to winning the series 4-1.
After a promising rookie season, it appeared that Ankiel was suffering from the yips or Steve Blass Disease. As he was athletic and could hit, the Cardinals made him a CF. In May 2013, he would sign with the Mets after he was released by the Astros.
The Mets signed him mostly because their poor CF options like Collin Cowgill weren’t working. Unfortunately, Ankiel seemed to stop taking HGH. He played in 20 games for the Mets hitting .182/.239/.364. That’s awful. That’s part of the reason the Mets finished the year with a 74-88 record.
However, as this was 2013, the year that Matt Harvey needed Tommy John surgery. It ended his 2013 season, and effective, his 2014 season. Things could not have seemed bleaker. It’s something to remember whe were enjoying this great ride.
Let’s all give Magic Number 16, Rick Ankiel, a hat tip.
After the horrors of 9/11, it was time for baseball to return. We were all shaken and needed a return to some normalcy. As the National Pasttime, baseball was set to return.
When it came time to return, the Mets, lead by Todd Zeile made a statement. They tossed their Mets caps aside, and wore the First Responders caps. They wore caps honoring the NYPD, FDNY, EMS, and Port Authority Police Department. It was a memorial to the heroes who lost their lives trying to save the lives of others.
Zeile wouldn’t let MLB rip the hat off his head. On September 17, 2001, the Mets took the field wearing these caps. It was emotional watching John Franco earning the win wearing an FDNY cap knowing he lost someone close to him on 9/11, who was a firefighter. When baseball returned to New York, the Mets took to the field wearing these first responder caps. It was the second most moving thing that happened that night:
After the 2001 season, it was time to move on. However, we would never forget. By we, I’m not including MLB. They have allowed the Mets to wear the caps since. Even when David Wright tried to wear it in the dugout, MLB took it away from him.
Four years ago, in honor of the tenth anniversary, the Mets petitioned MLB to wear the caps again. They were denied by MLB. Worse yet, they threatened to heavily fine players who elected to wear them. While Wright was once strong enough to wear a cap in the dugout, he became callow when it came to wearing the cap on the field stating he had to follow the rules. Bud Selig was the only one angry over the issue, and that is because the issue became public.
I don’t spend other people’s money. However, Wright is a leader. He needs to lead on the issue. He can’t go halfway like he did in the past. I’m assuming MLB will once again allow the Mets to wear the cap pregame only, you know, when no one can see it on TV. Instead when you turn on the TV tonight, you’ll see this:
Guess what? You can buy it at Lids for $37.99. It’s the same price on MLB.com. Note, there are no notations anywhere as to whether there will be any donations made to any charities. It’s a money grab.
The Mets had a strong locker room in 2001, and they stood up and did what was right. Wearing the First Responder caps is the right thing to do. People are still getting sick. Families continue to suffer. I know wearing the caps doesn’t change that.
However, it would be nice to know MLB and the Mets still remember. The slogan after 9/11 was never forget. If the Mets don’t wear the caps, it’s a sign they forgot.
UPDATE: they have forgotten and it’s embarrassing:
"They will be collected by MLB…" pic.twitter.com/qnMeHg5O7m
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) September 11, 2015
Fourteen years ago, the Twin Towers fell, and American lives were lost. The country mourned and came together. The Mets players would make a symbolic gesture to wear the caps of the First Responders to honor those heroes who risked their lives to save others.
Today’s quiz seeks the names of the First Responder organizations that risked their lives and died on 9/11. God Bless America.
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Like his past few starts, this game was all about Bartolo Colon clobbering the NL East. He’s now 13-1 against the NL East with a 2.52. He had a 31 inning scoreless streak that surpassed Warren Spahn‘s record for most consecutive shut out innings for a 42 year old. It was also fell 1.2 innings short of R. A. Dickey‘s club record.
Colon even asserted his dominance at the plate. After Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe scored on a Kevin Plawecki 4th inning RBI double, Colon would single him home. Colin’s dominance and scoreless streak would end in the seventh when he allowed two runs. With two outs, he was lifted for Dario Alvarez, who did his job as a LOOGY, and got the lefty Nick Markakis out.
Hansel Robles was out attending to family matters. Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia were given the day off due to their usage in the Washington series. As such, Alvarez came back out for the eighth, and he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, which included getting Freddie Freeman out. It was a great job by him.
It looked like Addison Reed was going to get the save opportunity until Uribe hit a two run double in the ninth. Reed still came on and secuted the 7-2 win.
Colon’s battery mate, Plawecki, also had a good game. He went 1-3 with a double, a walk, and three RBIs, including an insurance run in the eighth. Overall, playing backups like Uribe, Johnson, and Plawecki allowed the Mets to rest Travis d’Arnaud, Daniel Murphy and his quad, and David Wright and his back.
That’s the benefit of building a big lead. You get to rest some guys who need rest. When you’re really good, you win those games, even when Yoenis Cespedes finally has an 0-fer. You win these games even with a two and a half hour rain delay and a flooded dugout:
What are we waiting for? Let's play ball. pic.twitter.com/Pvw5ig76ZW
— Kevin Plawecki (@kplawecki26) September 10, 2015
Before moving along to the next game, our best wishes to Dan Warthen, who was not at the game because he had to go to the hospital with heart problems. I hope he gets better, and he comes back to enjoy this ride.
Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for the current magic number, please click on the link here.
As per a suggestion from one of my loyal readers, my brother, I decided to have some fun with the Mets’ magic number. For this, I figured, I would have some fun with it because if you can’t have fun, what’s the point in doing a blog.
With the magic number being 17, I immediately thought of Keith Hernandez, but honestly that’s boring. Everyone points to him. I was his picture all over Twitter last night. However, I did get some inspiration from Keith. While he’s never actively sought for his number to be retired, he has grizzled at the players who have been assigned his number.
So with that in mind, I’ve decided to go with a lesser player to wear a particular number. Preferably, I’d like to stick with players I’ve seen. It’s even better if I can focus on players that played during losing seasons. I figure it’s a good reminder that seasons like this don’t come around all the time, and we should enjoy them when they come. So, without further ado, I present Jeff McKnight:
McKnight wasn’t a great player, certainly not good enough to wear Hernandez’s number. He was a Mets second round pick that never panned out. He was a career .233/.284/.304 hitter. He only wore 17 in 1993. I don’t do this to mock McKnight. It takes a lot just to make the big leagues.
However, it’s a reminder the Mets were terrible, and we should enjoy these years when they come. So I offer a hat tip to Jeff McKnight.