Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 15, 2008
BASEBALL: Still on the Shelf

There are three bad things that can happen in April, in order of importance:

1. Injuries.
2. Having somebody else start walking off with the division.
3. Getting buried early in the standings.

And #3 has to be really serious (i.e., what is happening in Detroit, the only team in baseball that's more than 4 games out of first place) before it's worth panicking. I'm not happy with the Mets' performance and W-L record thus far, but they are only 1.5 games back, percentage points behind the Phillies and a half game ahead of Atlanta, so no need to flip out yet. The worst that can be said is they are squandering opportunities.

But the injuries to Pedro and El Duque are problematic, and it now looks like Pedro's down for a while:

General manager Omar Minaya told the New York Post for Tuesday's editions that the team doesn't expect the injured Martinez to return to the mound for the Mets until the middle of May or possibly June.

"We're definitely going to be more conservative with him," Minaya told the Post. "With hamstrings, you just never know. We've got to be careful."

Martinez suffered a left hamstring strain in his first start of the season. It was diagnosed as a mild hamstring strain and at the time, he was expected to miss four to six weeks.

Minaya told the Post that the Mets' doctors have ruled out Martinez's return before the six-week mark of his recovery.

Granted, assuming Pedro comes back recovered, there's no reason the hamstring injury needs to be chronic, and his arm may be fresher in September/October for cutting him some slack now. But a long stretch with only three reliable starters plus reliance on Pelfrey and Nelson Figueroa is a good way to keep squandering.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:29 PM | Baseball 2008 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

The fan base is in a constant state of rage, ready to unleash on a slow moving ball boy, never mind the players. This was predictable, to an extent, given the fiasco of 2007. Every player but Wright and Pagan seem to be in the cross hairs. If they don't go on a run calls for Willie's head will grow.

Posted by: abe at April 15, 2008 2:39 PM

Doesn't this seem like an odd start to the baseball year? The Tigers not only stink, they can't score. The Sox were on a 16 day, 10 game, 3 country, 2 continent road trip. Some of the best hitter is the game are in never-before-in-the-career style slumps. No names are popping up all over the place. I realize it's early and things tend to shake themselves out but everything seems a bit add right now, sort of like teams are in a bit of a holding pattern.

My favorite stat comparison happened after last night's Sox-Tribe game: Joe Borowski's ERA 18.00; Jonathan Papelbon's K/9 18.00.

Posted by: jim at April 15, 2008 2:57 PM

Calls for Willie's head should grow, he's a terrible manager.

I agree the only complaint as of now is wasting opportunities. I don't think anyone expected 30+ starts out of Pedro - 20 was a more realistic number. If some combination of Figueroa/Vargas/Sosa can hold it together for 15 starts and not implode the team should be in a good spot to win the division. That's assuming they start to hit of course.

In any event, it's better than football.

Posted by: MP at April 16, 2008 1:53 AM

I agree with Crank re the wasted opportunities. The Mets are already about 1 1/2 to 2 games behind their pythagorian projection. Nothing they can "do" about this, but it's that sort of thing that can haunt you in September during a tight divisional race.

My only real long term concern is the bullpen. Maybe 2B.

Posted by: Mike at April 16, 2008 6:16 AM

Pelfrey's strong outing last night is a breath of fresh air. Considering he's only made 18 big league starts (wow - seems like he's been around much longer) this could be the point where he grows into his potential and becomes successful.

Given the Mets havn't been winning in Maine and Santana's starts, can't be too concerned. That will turn around. They'll play better ... they have to ... right. Right. I have confidence. I think.

Posted by: CT Dad at April 16, 2008 10:25 AM
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