Results tagged ‘ Andres Torres ’
“The Mets have placed Scott Hairston and Andres Torres on waivers, a major league source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Mets have said that they want to be competitive in the month of September but may be willing to part with Hairston as they sit with a 58-69 record heading into this afternoon’s game against the Astros.”…
We have seen this story developing since the 2nd game of the season. Kirk Nieuwenhuis came up and took the league by storm over the first 2 months of the season. Until the promotion of Bryce Harper, he was an early favorite for NL Rookie of The Year. However, the league has made adjustments to Kirk and now, as we sit here in mid July, Nieuwenhuis has seen his average drop from .300 to .262 and his strikeouts keep rising at a rapid pace. He has 24 walks to 88 strikeouts in 81 games and his eye at the plate can definitely use some improvement.
Nieuwnehuis does appear to have a future in the majors, he is mature beyond his years and doesn’t seem to let his offensive struggles linger into the outfield. He shows flashes of power and looks to be a very solid defensive centerfielder, but his approach at the plate needs serious work. In this last series in Atlanta, you see the potential, but with all the strikeouts, there is just no consistency. It also doesn’t help that he is one of many left handed batters that have overtaken the 2012 Mets lineup.
With Jason Bay due back tonight, a much needed righty, and Mike Baxter due back within a week, another lefty and the hero who will forever be remembered for saving Santana and the Mets’ first ever no-hitter, and already having the young left handed Jordany Valdespin on the team, now might be a better time then any to send down Kirk for a little more seasoning, and then bring him back up in September, or in a few days when Bay gets injured again.
While it may not be the popular choice among fans, at this point it is not about the fan girls or bromances and the flowing golden locks, it is about production on the field. Valdespin has been producing more consistently and therefore deserves more playing time. Heck, even Andres Torres has been producing better results recently. This team is close to being in contention for the 2nd NL Wild Card and to put the best product on the field on a nightly basis, Nieuwnehuis, for his benefit as well as the team’s, needs to be sent down for a while. There are many positives he can take with him to be proud of, but some glaring holes that need to be addressed before he returns for the long haul.
We all know the story of the 2012 New York Mets by now. Tabbed underdogs by their owners and broke by everyone else in sports, thanks to Bernie Madoff. They were destined to finish last in the NL East, with only about 65-75 wins, at most. Every other team improved in their division, and the Mets got worse. They lost Reyes to division rival Miami, Capuano to the Dodgers and Johan Santana and Chris Young were recovering from serious shoulder surgery. The Mets biggest additions were Frank Francisco, the tempermental modern day Armando Benitez, and Andres Torres, the 34 year old feel good story of a center fielder with ADHD who would replace Reyes’ speed and be less Angel Pagan in the field and on the bases.
Fast forward to present day and here we are about to restart games in just about 24 hours. The Mets have exceeded all expectations and put a lot of doubt to rest. The Madoff issue is behind them and the debt, as a result of the ruling, is a fraction of what was originally expected. They enter the second half of the season in 3rd place in the NL east with a record of 46-40 and just 4.5 games out of first. Possibly even more surprising is that the Phillies, the team expected to win yet another division title, are in dead last, 14 games back of the first place Washington Nationals.
To get to this point, the Mets have had many things go their way. They lead baseball in 2 out runs, are 3rd in the NL in total runs, and 8th in all of baseball in the category. Their starters have been much better then expected and their lineup has produced from top to bottom, no matter who is penciled in on any given day. BUT, as they are the Mets, many things have also not gone so well. Mike Pelfrey was lost to Tommy John surgery early in the season, Tejada and Bay have battled injuries, Ike Davis was unaware that the season started before June, and the bullpen, oh that bullpen. However, since this is intended to be a happy recap, let me only focus on the positive.
The Mets, arguably, have the best pair of aces in baseball in Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey. Dickey has taken all of baseball by storm. He started out the season by releasing a book of his life. It detailed the trials and tribulations faced along the way to becoming the dominating knuckleballer he is today, at age 37. Dickey has helped ease the pressure on Johan Santana, which was desperately needed, since he is still a work in progress post surgery. Not to mention, he threw back to back one hitters and is striking out batters like it’s going out of business. At the break, Dickey’s record sits at 12-1, leading the league in wins, and has struck out 123 batters while only walking 23. It’s amazing that a knuckleballer can have such impeccable control and master the knuckleball the way he has at this stage of his life, but it just adds to his storybook tale. Let us not forget his first All-Star appearance as well.
The other half of the dueling aces, Johan Santana, has been almost as impressive as Dickey, especially considering that he is still working his way back from major shoulder surgery. Also deserving of an All-Star nod, Santana, who has surprised me more then Dickey for the fact that he has not missed a start, has become a permanent part of Mets history thanks to his performance on June 1st when he threw the Met’s first ever no hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals. Besides that once in a franchise performance, Santana has shown the ability to battle and compete. While his stuff may not be what it once was, he has the brains to succeed at any level and has done more than an adequate job for the Mets this season. At the half, Santana is 6-5 with a 3.24 ERA and has struck out 99 batters to just 33 walks. The most important stat to me is that he has made 17 starts, throwing 102+ innings. If this two headed monster can continue in the second half, then good things could be in store for the Mets.
When Sandy Alderson joined the Mets last season, there was a promise to build a winning team, longterm, from within. Most, including myself, assumed that meant years of mediocre baseball as the youth develops. This season, the youth movement has begun, and most impressively, has led to winning now, not just waiting for the future. On day 2 of the regular season, Andres Torres went down with a calf injury, the same injury that sidelined him for most of spring training. Instead of panicking, or worse, starting Scott Hairston for any length of time in center field, the Mets called upon Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who coming into the season had potential, just hasn’t stayed healthy enough to prove he deserved a shot in the show. Well now came his shot, and despite a late first half swoon, has proved he belongs. Aside from a knack for striking out, he appears mature beyond his years and plays defense, whether in center or left field, with a never say die mentality. It is no surprise he was also a football star at one point because when a ball is in his reach in the outfield, he will charge through a wall, a player or whatever else may be in his way to make the catch. At the half, Kirk is .268 with 7 home runs, 25 RBI’s, 11 doubles and a walk to strikeout ratio of 23:85. While there are some obvious adjustments to be made, he is putting on quite a display for a rookie who no one thought had a shot of being needed this season, let alone game 2.
The latest member to join the youth movement was Jordany Valdespin. Known for his ego more then his ability, he quickly proved that he can back up the talk. In early May, after being demoted and recalled within days, Jordany earned his first big league hit in a big way. With the Mets trailing the Phillies in the 9th and stud closer Papelbon on the mound, Valdespin silenced all the haters with a go-ahead 3 run shot to right field. While he may be cocky, if the Mets can find this ferociously swinging lefty an everyday spot in the lineup, the results should be more then enough to make up for his mouth. At the break, Valdespin is batting .257 over his first 70 at bats and has 4 home runs, 14 RBI’s and 4 steals. He has appeared comfortable at second base, left field and center field, while also proving he is overmatched at shortstop in the majors.
Lastly, the ambassador of the youth movement. The hopeful replacement to the reigning batting champ and Mets spark plug Jose Reyes. The 22 year old solid but not spectacular, Ruben Tejada. While all of those statements are what surrounded talk of Tejada throughout the off-season, all of that is quickly forgotten once watching him play on a regular basis. While he may not possess Reyes’ speed, personality, or fandom (as of yet), he is by far mature beyond his 22 years, has displayed sparkling defense at shortstop and has become a dependable, clutch, and lovable Met who is cementing himself at the top of the batting order for Terry Collins and the Mets. Having played in 41 games in the first half, Tejada is batting .325 with 13 doubles. He has struck out just 30 times in 182 at bats and walked 13 times. He has shown the ability to work deep counts on pitchers and the later the game gets, the better his approach at the plate becomes. While he may not provide anything in the power department, being able to draw a key walk or stroke a key single in front of the big boys is a great way to start rallies, or late game comebacks.
With the go ahead run on 3rd in the 8th inning and the Mets and Pirates tied at 4, Torres came up with 2 outs after an intentional walk to pinch hitter Mike Baxter. After getting ahead 2-0, Torres grounded out weakly to the second baseman.
With that groundout, Torres is now 2 for his last 38 and even worse, 0 for his last 14. After a torrid start when he was first activated from the disabled list in Houston, Torres has quickly sizzled. Anyone missing Angel Pagan yet, who is quietly having a very solid season?
Pagan opened the season with a 20 game hitting streak and then followed that up with a 10 game hitting streak. While he may get lost on the base paths, or in the field at times, he sure can hit, and that is a lot more then we can say about Andres Torres to this point.
In 39 games thus far, Pagan is batting .302 with 15 extra base hits and 8 steals.
While it’s still early in the 2012 season, the Mets sent a statement to the National League East with a 3 game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. May I also mention that this sweep included games started by Jon Niese, Miguel Batista and Dillon Gee, so the Phillies didn’t even see their top 2 pitchers, Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey, while the Mets won games started by Halladay and Lee. More impressive then the fight of the Mets pitchers throughout the series was the patience and timely hitting of the offense. The Mets built on their incredible total of 2 out RBI’s, and continued their hard nosed, heads up style of baseball. This series was all about timely pinch hitting, taking the extra base, making the routine plays and matching up the bullpen well. To sum all of that up, Terry Collins should get a ton of credit for this series sweep.
Ike Davis had a mini breakout in the finale with a double off of the wall and a long 3 run home run.
Torres added a home run and a triple, while continuing to swing a hot bat since his return from a strained calf.
Manny Acosta seemed to regain his confidence out of the pen, pitching in all 3 games against the Phillies and allowing 0 earned runs and even more impressive, 0 walks.
The Mets have seemed to really gel as a team since getting embarrassed by the Astros. This is what good teams do. They pick each other up and don’t let injuries or personal slumps get in the way. The Mets lost their starting shortstop and catcher this week and continued rolling, regardless of who filled in. They continue to keep their feet on the gas and attack when their opponents are down, and we saw that against the Phillies bullpen the entire series. Over the 3 games, the Phillies bullpen had a 14.73 ERA and that has just as much to do with the Mets fight as it does with the struggles of the Phillies relievers.
The Mets leave Philadelphia with an 18-13 record, 13-5 against the NL East. The Mets are winners of 5 in a row and are in 3rd place in the NL East, just .5 game back of the 1st place Nationals. They look to continue their resurgence in the spacious, ugly and brand new Miami Marlins ballpark on Friday, after a well deserved day off tomorrow.