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.
Much of the 2015 season has been a second chance for some of their veterans to have a chance to be in a pennant race again. David Wright, Daniel Murphy, and Jon Niese were all there for the 2008 collapse. In many ways, this year is their redemption.
Dillon Gee wasn’t there in 2008. He first came up in 2010. He’s only known losing despite having a 40-37 career record. Last year, he was the Opening Day starter. This year he was briefly in the rotation due to Zack Wheeler needing Tommy John surgery. The Mets would then jerk him around and designate him for assignment. They even gave his number to Logan Verrett. I don’t know what Gee said or did, but he’s been disregarded by the organization.
It’s a shame because they really did need a sixth starter. With the Mets wanting to get their pitchers rest, and Matt Harvey needing to be preserved for the playoffs, the Mets sure could use another starter. They’ve disregarded Gee, who wasn’t even a September call up when the AAA season ended.
He probably could’ve helped this team. He suffered through years of losing, and just when the Mets get good again, he’s tossed by the wayside. If the Mets can find starts for Jon Niese, they could find starts for Gee. With all this, he remains a class act:
WOW, I don't know what else to say. This is the best team on earth!!!! Something special happening there. Awesome pickups! #mets
— Dillon Gee (@DillonGee35) September 10, 2015
Despite his misfortunes, he’s still cheering on the Mets. This is the type of guy you want in your organization. This is the type of player you want to stick around for a while. Whether it was one ir two starts in September or some mop up duty, it would’ve been nice to see him get some innings.
I wish the Mets called him up, but they didn’t. This means he’s as good as gone, and he can’t enjoy the victories he’s been waiting for since 2010. As he’s been magnanimous, I will wish him the best of luck wherever he winds up.
Last year, with the A’s in a pennant race, they included Yoenis Cespedes in a trade for Jon Lester. Lester was supposed to be the piece that put the A’s over the top. Lester would give up six runs en route to a loss in the Wild Card Game to the Royals. Lester, Cespedes, and the A’s would be sitting home watching the Royals came within a run of winning the World Series.
After a trade between the Red Sox and the Tigers, Cespedes appeared to have another shot at a playoff run. When Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera suffered long term injuries, the Tigers chances of competing were gone. It appeared Cespedes was going to be on the outside looking in again. It certainly looked like the Mets weren’t going to need an outfielder. That was until Carlos Gomez failed his physical.
The Mets then made a desperate trade to bring on Cespedes. He’s been phenomenal. He’s hitting .312/.357/.675. Not to use a tired metaphor, but those are video game numbers. It’s the reason for the misguided MVP talk. He’s making up for lost time. He’s showing the A’s they made a mistake letting him go.
There is something to be said for the guy who’s been over looked, the guy who’s chance was taken away from him, the guy who has something to prove. That guy was Cespedes. He’s making the most of the opportunity he thought he would have last year.
Luckily, the Mets are the beneficiaries of Cespedes finally getting his chance.
I’m a die hard Mets fan. I’m hoping my son will be one day. So far, I think he’s off to a great start:
You know how I’ll truly know if he’s a diehard fan? I’ll know if he’s watching the Mets play in Atlanta over watching the first game of the NFL season, or whatever the equivalent of that will be in the future.
This Mets team is playing great. They all but locked up the NL East. Fans are delirious to the point that they think Yoenis Cespedes is the MVP. If you can’t watch now over a meaningless NFL game (especially for us Giants fans), you’re not a die hard fan.
Please note, I’m not saying you’re not a fan. There are various levels of fandom. It’s not for me to say if you’re a fan or not. However, I think I can comfortably say that if you’re not watching the Mets tonight, you’re not a diehard fan. You can be a fan, you can be a big fan, but you can’t be a diehard fan.
My little diehard fan and I will be watching the Mets tonight. I hope you will as well.