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Mets (26-27) vs Dodgers (27-27) 7:10 PM


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Game Preview

 

Fernando Tatis insists that he is still learning the game of baseball.

 

At 33, he's journeyed through five Major League cities and almost as many position changes. It's been a telling experience, as he doesn't take for granted how hard one has to work to stick around in the game.

 

Playing right field on Wednesday night, Tatis showed that he still can be educated in the art of catching a fly ball, as he made one grab look more acrobatic than necessary, catching the ball and then stumbling over his feet and rolling into the wall.

 

"It's not easy," Tatis joked. "It's like I told you guys, you are learning every day. I've been playing this game for many years, and I've never made a catch like that."

 

But all was forgiven by manager Willie Randolph, who was anxious to list the reasons he covets Tatis after Wednesday night's heroics. The most obvious, of course, is his propensity for the big hits, displayed by his game-winning two-run knock in the 12th inning that gave the Mets a series win over Florida.

 

Randolph has always had a soft spot for Tatis. Even when he sat with Tatis in late March to tell him that he was letting him go, Randolph felt in his heart that the versatile player would find his way into a Mets uniform somewhere down the road.

 

That time has come, as Tatis is batting .368 this season with four crucial RBIs in two consecutive starts.

 

Tatis, along with catcher Ramon Castro and first baseman Damion Easley, was in the lineup in the Mets' two consecutive victories. And as the season moves along, Randolph envisions more playing time for his bench, and in particular Tatis, who can play third base, first base and the outfield, and even can sub at catcher.

 

Boasting about Tatis after the game, Randolph almost slipped up and commended him on that not-so-simple grab in right field.

 

"Great catch?" Randolph said as he begun to laugh, "He stumbled into a wall. ... It looked better than it was."

 

Pitching matchup

NYM: RHP Claudio Vargas (1-2, 3.93 ERA)

Vargas pitched effectively at Coors Field on Saturday, earning his first victory in three starts following his May 13 promotion to the big leagues. Working with three days' rest one day after the Mets' bullpen was extended in a 13-inning loss, he provided seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out three. With Pedro Martinez scheduled to make his return on Tuesday -- Vargas' next day to start -- and Mike Pelfrey pitching so ineffectively, Vargas' performance against the Dodgers could be a factor in personnel changes the Mets are weighing.

 

LAD: RHP Brad Penny (5-5, 5.32 ERA)

Penny showed improvement in his most recent outing, against the Cardinals on Saturday, after three poor starts, but he took his third straight loss after enduring one bad inning that included back-to-back walks. He has experienced some shoulder stiffness, but said after that game that he felt better than he had in five years. His velocity topped out at 97 mph, which eased concerns. Penny has a 3-4 record against the Mets since the beginning of the 2005 season. The Mets scored 10 runs in 4 2/3 innings against him on May 7 on Los Angeles.

Tidbits

The Mets don't expect Ryan Church to return to Shea Stadium on Thursday, and even if he does, he will not play. The right fielder is still experiencing symptoms of a concussion sustained on May 20. After general manager Omar Minaya painted an unclear picture on Wednesday afternoon, the club announced that once Church is found to be is symptom-free, he will be re-examined 48 hours later. If he is symptom-free again, he then will be allowed to play.

 

Marlon Anderson, assigned to the disabled list, said that the muscle tear in his left leg is not critical. The muscle tore off the bone, but the injury will not prevent him from playing. Once the leg feels stronger and is better equipped to help him maintain balance, he will be able to resume playing.

This date in Mets history -- May 29:

In 1990, with the Mets in fourth place and seven games behind, Davey Johnson, the most successful manager in franchise history, is dismissed and replaced by Bud Harrelson. Johnson finishes his Mets tour with a .588 winning percentage, two division championships, a pennant and a World Series championship. ... Jason Isringhausen starts for the Mets opposite William Van Landingham of the Giants in 1996. The matchup, presented thusly -- Jason Isringhausen vs. William Van Landingham -- is 44 characters long. ... Cliff Floyd and Jose Valentin hit bases-empty home runs off Vargas, then with the Diamondbacks, and David Wright singled in a run in the ninth inning of the Mets' 8-7 victory at Shea Stadium in 2006.

 

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Delgado, went down swinging on a pitch that he could have hit off the bounce.

 

 

Yeah, that bounced a foot and a half in front of the plate. I have no idea why Willie bats him in the order any earlier than 8th. In fact, I think he would be a good eighth hitter because he takes a lot of walks and can clear the pitcher when he comes up with 2 outs, plus he will hit the occasional homerun, and the 8th spot is sometimes your last chance to get some runs home realistically.

 

But he stinks at this point and swings at pitches like that yet complains about sitting for 2 games in a row? What an ass. I am ecstatic he will not be our first baseman next year. There are some people that think we are going to make a run at Big Tex. I don't think we have a realistic shot at him. I really believe the Braves will agree to a deal with him before we ever have a chance.

 

I don't know who the other candidates are out there in the free agent market after this year, but obviously the Mets will look at the progression of Carp later in the year as well as Evans.

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Just found the list of 2009 free agent first basemen:

 

Ben Broussard (32)

Sean Casey (34)

Tony Clark (37)

Carlos Delgado (37) - $16MM mutual option for '09 with a $4MM buyout

Nomar Garciaparra (35)

Jason Giambi (38) - $22MM club option for '09 with a $5MM buyout

Scott Hatteberg (39)

Eric Hinske (31)

Doug Mientkiewicz (35)

Kevin Millar (37)

Richie Sexson (34)

Mark Teixeira (29)

 

Lots of old guys there. I'd maybe look at Sexson although he strikes out a lot. I'd even consider Garciaparra for a one year deal, maybe two, but I'm sure his agent will demand at least a 3 or 4 year deal. After that, maybe Broussard. I think Carp may have to be the answer in 2009, or 2010 at the latest. Hopefully he can do it.

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Yikes. I just looked at the numbers for Sexson, Garciaparra, and Broussard, and based on that I wouldn't touch any of them.

 

Maybe this will FORCE the Mets into going young at the position. The only blue chip guy that will be there is Big Tex, and I just don't see the Braves letting him walk.

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Yikes. I just looked at the numbers for Sexson, Garciaparra, and Broussard, and based on that I wouldn't touch any of them.

 

Maybe this will FORCE the Mets into going young at the position. The only blue chip guy that will be there is Big Tex, and I just don't see the Braves letting him walk.

 

Texiera is a Boras client and Boras clients almost ALWAYS go to free agency and ALWAYS take the highest deal they csn get, just like Beltran, Millwood, Arod etc, no matter whether the deal is in the players best interest or not. My guess is the Braves will not overpay and a bidding war will insue. I cannot see the Yankees yet again losing a player both they and the Mets really need like they did with Santana and Beltran. Unless Texeira tells Boras to go with the best deal he can get with the Braves I see him with the Yankees, which in all honesty is fine with me, out of the NL east.

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Game Preview

 

Willie Randolph doesn't expect Carlos Delgado to win Gold Glove Awards. Let's face it, the Mets' manager said this week, a 35-year-old power hitter isn't in the lineup for his defense.

 

But in the fourth inning on Thursday night, with the pressure on Delgado to show that he can at least be a serviceable barrier down the first-base line, the 265-pounder leaped to his left, snagged a grounder and tossed the ball to pitcher Claudio Vargas for the out.

 

Randolph cracked a smile in the dugout, most pleased by the stains that graced Delgado's jersey. He was so delighted, in fact, that Delgado will once again assume the role of everyday first baseman on Friday, a role he relinquished to Damion Easley for two games during the Marlins series.

 

"I like it when he gets dirty," Randolph said. "His uniform has been pretty clean lately."

 

Delgado collected 10 putouts during Thursday's win to go along with two assists. Though his batting average is still .222, he showed signs of an offensive turnaround as well, connecting for two hits and crossing home plate once.

 

Enthused after the game, Delgado passed through the clubhouse with his dirt-smeared jersey already in the laundry. He had gained a few personal victories en route to helping his team to a three-game winning streak.

 

So when he was asked whether his defensive show on Thursday was enough to satisfy Randolph, he paused for a second, taken aback.

 

"I certainly hope so," Delgado said. "I didn't know [my defense] was an issue. ... I'm not going to dive just to dive. If I think I can reach it, I am going to dive. If I don't think I can catch it, I am not going to."

 

Pitching matchup

NYM: RHP John Maine (5-4, 3.41 ERA)

Maine pitched well at Coors Field on Sunday, surrendering only three hits and four walks to the Rockies during six innings of work. He also racked up a season-high eight strikeouts. Though his changeup was less effective in that outing, he has maintained good velocity on his fastball and will look to continue his success against Los Angeles this season. He only allowed four hits and one run in 8 1/3 innings against the Dodgers on May 7. Since that start, Maine is 1-2 and has has not gotten past the sixth inning, with three starts of six, four and six innings, respectively.

 

LAD: LHP Clayton Kershaw (0-0, 3.00 ERA)

Kershaw made his Major League debut on Sunday and held St. Louis to two runs on five hits in six innings of work. Albert Pujols played a large part in keeping Kershaw from his first career win, as the Cardinals first baseman drove in his team's first run and set up the second. Eventually, the Dodgers' bullpen would surrender the lead, cutting Kershaw out of the decision, but his mid-90s fastball still impressed in Los Angeles' 4-3 win. The 20-year-old shut down the Cardinals' left-handed batters, allowing all of his hits to batters swinging from the other side of the plate.

 

Tidbits

For the third straight game on Thursday, Mets media relations manager Jay Horwitz wore the orange jacket that pitcher Johan Santana supposedly asked him to wear as a good-luck charm. For the third straight time, the Mets won the game. So the "Jay-o-Lantern" will continue to make appearances at Shea. ... The Mets' bullpen has now retired 34 of its last 37 batters, allowing two runs in its last 20 1/3 innings. ... Nick Evans is hitless since starting his Mets career with a 3-for-4 outing on May 24. He did not play on Thursday night, as Fernando Tatis and Endy Chavez manned the corner outfield positions for New York. Evans had played in all of his first five Major League games prior to Thursday. ... Pedro Martinez was expected to rejoin the Mets late Thursday or Friday after his rehab start in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Wednesday. He's scheduled to start on Tuesday vs. the Giants, and Randolph said on Thursday that he expects Martinez, who was suffering from a strain in his left hamstring, to be injury-free for the rest of the season, as opposed to Moises Alou, whose left calf strain "makes you hold your breath," Randolph said.

 

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Texiera is a Boras client and Boras clients almost ALWAYS go to free agency and ALWAYS take the highest deal they csn get, just like Beltran, Millwood, Arod etc, no matter whether the deal is in the players best interest or not. My guess is the Braves will not overpay and a bidding war will insue. I cannot see the Yankees yet again losing a player both they and the Mets really need like they did with Santana and Beltran. Unless Texeira tells Boras to go with the best deal he can get with the Braves I see him with the Yankees, which in all honesty is fine with me, out of the NL east.

You think the Yanks are going to dish out a 100 million dollar deal and one close to 200? Because I think C.C. will be a Yankee and if he is it'll be for triple digits.

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You think the Yanks are going to dish out a 100 million dollar deal and one close to 200? Because I think C.C. will be a Yankee and if he is it'll be for triple digits.

 

With Abreu, Giambi, Pettite, Mussina all off the books in 09 the Yanks can afford Tex and Sabathia, which in all probabilty(especially if they miss the playoffs)they will sign.

 

MOney is no object there, new stadium, lots of expiring contracts, a new hungry Hank. I would love to be a free agent pitcher and 1Bmen this off season and get the Yanks involved.

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With Abreu, Giambi, Pettite, Mussina all off the books in 09 the Yanks can afford Tex and Sabathia, which in all probabilty(especially if they miss the playoffs)they will sign.

 

MOney is no object there, new stadium, lots of expiring contracts, a new hungry Hank. I would love to be a free agent pitcher and 1Bmen this off season and get the Yanks involved.

I think Abreu is coming back next year. And I just get the vibe that the Yanks think the money they get back from the guys you mentioned will be better used for more than 2 players.

 

And I don't know much about finances but I read somewhere that in 2010 in a possible uncapped year the Giants and Cowboys would have trouble overspending for FAs because of their new stadiums being put up. I'm not sure if that's right or not (it doesnt sound that way) but if it is wouldn't it hold true for the Yanks and Mets too?

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this is why I love Pelfrey, like Willie says(I wish more people in the dugout would listen to him this is a smart baseball man)when pelfrey just trusts his stuff and does not try and get cute he is very good.

 

I will go out on a limb here and say if the mets win this game they can start to feel a little better about themselves as a team.

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Man Tatis has been clutch.

 

I have to give him credit as both at the plate and in the field he seems to be wanting to make every bit of this oppurtunity for him worth it.

 

IMO his laying out last night showed this team what he is all about.

 

Is it possible that the underachieving Mets see a guy who was a former all star just 8 years ago fighting for his baseball life playing hard and this actully inpires them? tatis is 3 years older than beltran for gods sake.

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