Sunday, September 28, 2008
If you like arena football then this was the game for you. Brett Favre and Kurt Warner did not disappoint; the pair of veteran QB's put on a clinic in Sunday afternoon's ballgame, as the Jets beat the Cardinals 56-35. The game marked a new record for Favre since he threw six touchdown passes; the most he has thrown in a game. It was also the first time since 1986 that the Jets scored 50+ points in a game.
The Jets were excellent in the first half, playing crisp, sound football on both sides of the ball. The defense confused Warner, rushing him with different blitz packages and forcing five turnovers in the game' first 30 minutes.
In the second quarter, Favre and the Jets got the party started. First,Favre hit Laveranues Coles from the 12 yards out to give New York a 7-0 lead.
On Arizona's next possesion, Warner was picked off by Darrell Revis, who took it 32 yards into the endzone for a 14-0 lead.
After another Warner interception, Favre found Coles again;, this time from 34 yards out to make it 21 to 0.
Favre hit Coles once more before halftime, this one a lob from the two yard line to make it 31-0.
The Jets had a 34-0 into the half. Should be a walk in the park, right?
Not exactly. Arizona got red hot in the second half and moved the ball efficently on the Jets' overrated defense, scoring 35 unanswered points.
First, Edgerin James completed a six play, 58 yard drive to open the half with a touchdown to make it 34-7. After the Jets went three and out on their opeing drive, Arizona took the ball right down the Jets' throats.
On a drive that took 13 plays and 76 yards, James finished it again with a touchdown to make it 34-13. Arizona converted the two point conversion to cut the deficit to 19.
Arizona went for the onside kick and recovered it and proceeded to drive down the field, as Warner hit wide open receivers, like Larry Fitzgerald and Jerheme Urban, to move the ball. Tim Hightower took it in from one yard out to make it 34-21.
Finally, the Jets got the ball back, and Favre wasted no time. The Jets went on a 12 play 80 yard drive that ended in a 17 yard touchdown to Jerricho Cothery to make it 41-21.
Arizona responded, as Warner hit Anquain Boldin from eight yards out to make it 41-28.
Favre would not relent, leading his troops all the way down the field as fast as possible,hitting a wide open Jerricho Cothery from 40 yards out to make it 48-28.
But that was not enough, for the defense allowed the Cardinals to move down the field again, ending with a 14 yard touchdown from Warner to Urban to make it 48-35 with 4:49 to go.
The Jets had to run the clock, but Jay Feeley missed his second field goal of the game, giving Arizona the ball back with 3:09 to go.
It was here that the Jet defense finally put on a defense. Warner was pressured and sacked by David Bowens; as a result, Warner fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Calvin Pace, giving the Jets great field positon at the Cardinals 25 yard line.
Favre ended it with his sixth touchdown pass of the day, a career high, hitting Dustin Keller from 24 yards out; 56-35 J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The Phillies will host either the LA Dodgers or Milwukee Brewers in the Divsion Series, set to begin the middle of next week.
This is why the Mets paid him $137 million dollars in February. This is why Omar Minaya and the Mets desperately wanted him all off-season. This is why he is considered the best pitcher in baseball today.
Johan Santana pitched an absolute gem today against the Florida Marlins. He threw a complete game shutout, his third complete game of the year. Yet, this one was much more special. This one came with the Mets season on the line. They needed Santana to be Superman and he was.
Three days ago the Mets ace threw 125 pitches in seven innings against the Cubs. The next day reports said that Santana told manager Jerry Manuel that he wanted the ball for today's game. He got, with Manuel hoping to get at least 105 pitches out of him on short rest. He threw 117 pitches, and with each pitch he got better. If the game went into extra innings, Santana probably would have demanded to pitch; he was red-hot and is only one who can save the Mets from themselves.
Santana struck out nine Marlin batters, making each batter look completely stupid as they were all out in front of Santana's leathal pitches.
As the final out was recored in the glove of Endy Chavez, Shea Stadium broke in a roucus cheer, perhaps for the final time ever. Santana then took the game ball, kissed it and hurled it into the stands, and tipped his cap to the crowd as he walked toward the showers.
Not a bad day's work if you can get it.
If God somehow lets the Mets into the postseason tomorrow night, Santana probably will start against the Cubs in game one of the Division Series. If not, then this will be the last time we see the ace until next April - boy did he leave a lasting memory for all Met fans and closed out Shea the only way he could.
NOTE: The Mets now still trail Milwaukee for the wild card, and need the Brewers to lose today to force a tie. If both teams are tied after tomorrow there will be a one game playoff on Monday.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Yes Met fans, start spreading the news! The Mets are falling out of it ... Again!
The Mets completely imploded Friday night in a game they had to have against the rival Florida Marlins. The Marlins won 6-1 in front of a sparse and stunned Shea Stadium crowd. Some way to celebrate the final weekend at Shea, eh?
The Mets never gave themselves a chance in this one, as Mike Pelfrey continues his struggles against this Florida ballclub. He is now 1-5 all time vs. the Fish.
In the first inning, Hanley Ramirez singled on a ground ball to start the game. Moments later, John Baker singled down the left field line well enough for Ramirez to score the opening run. Jorge Cantu doubled to move Baker to third. Dan Uggla grounded out to short, but that was enough to get Baker home from thrid. 2-0, Marlins.
Chris Volstad absolutely baffled the Metropolitans, throwing six brilliant innings, surrendering only an unearned run. Volstad finished the season with a 6-4 record and a sparkling 2.88 ERA.
In the sixth, Florida finished Pelfrey's night when Josh Willingham smacked a homerun off the foul pole in left to make it 3-1.
The Marlins finally broke it wide open in the seventh. Bobby Parnell walked Luis Gonzalez, threw a wild pitch and allowed Ramirez to single up the middle to drive in pinch runner Brett Carroll to score.
Aaron Heilman came in and walked the bases loaded, and then proceeded to walk Williangham to bring home Ramirez to make it 5-1 FLA.
Jerry Manuel said in his press confernce that "we really put ourselves in a tough spot." And they sure are in a tough spot. The Phillies won their game against the Nationals to give themselves a two game lead for the division, all but clinching it with two to play. If Philly wins or the Mets lose tomorrow, the Phillies can party on a Saturday night.
The Brewers, meanwhile, are currently destroying the Chicago Cubs, the same Cubs team that gave the Mets all they could handle during the week, 5-1 in the eighth. If the Brew Crew holds on to win, the Mets will then be a game out of the wild card.
In case you are wondering, Johan Santana WILL pitch tomorrow night. Tomorrow night is clearly the final game of the 2008 season. If the Mets win, they will live to see another day, if they lose, then Sunday, Shea will be an empty and hostile ballpark as the Mets welcome back alumni for the closing of the Stadium.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
It may not feel like much, considering what has happened to this team over the last three weeks, but tonights win against the Cubs was very important. The Mets came back from a 6-3 hole that Pedro Martinez put them into to beat the Cubs 7-6 and get to within a game of the Phillies for first in the NL East, and assuring them at least a tie with Milwaukee for the wild card.
With the Mets down 3-1 in the fourth inning, Ryan Church, who has been really struggling, finally came through with a double to right to bring home David Wright and Carlos Beltran to tie the game at three.
But, Martinez put the Mets into a huge hole. In the sixth he surrendered a single to Feliex Pie and walked Ryan Theriot. Jerry Mannuel, not liking what he was getting from Martinez pulled the struggling right-hander for lefty Ricardo Rincon. As a result Michael Hoffpauir provided some power as he blasted his second homerun of the night, this one a three-run blast to give Chicago a 6-3 lead. Two of those runs were charged to Martinez.
Still, the Mets would not go away. They fought back - something they have done a lot in 2008, but not lately. David Wright and Carlos Beltran singled. Chruch followed with a single of his own to load them up for Ramon Martinez, of all people. The rookie Martinez came through as he pasted a single between short and thrid, bringing home Beltran to make it 6-5.
Moments later Robinson Cancel scratched a single to right. Chruch came chugging around the muddy infield toward homeplate. The throw to home was on line and Chruch looked like a dead duck, but he manuvered around the catcher and slide into home hands first before the tag to tie the game at six .
Finally in the tenth, with Jose Reyes on second and Carlos Delgado on first, Carlos Beltran delievered with a shot that bounced off the glove of first baseman Derek Lee, and trickled down the right field line. Reyes came dancing into home as the celebration begun.
The Mets survived for at least one more night. It is still a tentative moment at best however.
1) DALLAS COWBOYS (3-0) - Now I am convinced the Cowboys are for real. They may have all the pompous All-Stars, but the Boys know how to walk the walk while talking the talk. Impressive effort in Green Bay last week; they should roll over Washington on Sunday.
5) BUFFALO BILLS (3-0) - Last year Trent Edwards showed glimpses that he is going to be a good quarterback; now, he is really showing it off, leading the Bills all the way back from a 23-14 deficit to beat the Raiders 24-23 in the final seconds. The Bills have a solid offense with Lee Evans and Laurencey Maroney providing support and a stout defense. Sounds like the Bills of the early 1990's doesn't it?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The Mets had two different bases loaded situations late in their Wednesday night game against the Chicago Cubs and came away with only one run, as the Cubs came all the way back to beat up the Mets 9-6 at Shea Stadium...THE CHICAGO WAY.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
It's the understatement of the year, but the Mets needed to win this one ... badly. The Mets who were two and a half behind the Phillies for first in the NL East, and clinging to a one game lead over Milwaukee in the wild card, needed Johan Santana to be the ace they paid for in early Feburary.
Santana did not disappoint. He threw his highest pitch count of his career, 125 pitches and each one of them was filled with oxygen for a Met team that appears ready to die at any moment.
After a rough start, Santana settled down, as he usually does, and painted a Picasso. He went eight innings, surrendered only seven hits, two runs and struck out ten Cubs to earn his 15 win of the season.
Offensively, it took the Mets a while to get going. In fact, Chicago had a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth, and it appeared that the Mets would choke with their ace on the hill. But that was not the case.
Santana singled to center to get things going in the fifth. Two batters later, David Wright drove in Santana and Nick Evans to tie the game at two.
In the sixth, the Mets exploded. Carlos Delgado led off with a double. Ramon Castro grounded to the pitcher Chad Gaudin, but Gaudin threw the ball away on the relay to first allowing Delgado to score from third. 3-2 Metropolitans. Ryan Chruch and Dan Murphy followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases. Santana came up and battled in a 10 pitch at-bat. He grounded into a force play, as Castro was tagged out at home, and Santana was ruled safe at first.
Jose Reyes tripled to right to clear the bases, giving the Mets a 6-2 lead.
That was all Santana needed as he cruised for the rest of the night. Luis Ayala got the save.
Meantime, the Phillies lost to Atlanta 3-2, so the Phillies lead over the Mets is now down to a game and a half with five to play. Milwaukee is losing to Pittsburgh 3-2 in the seventh inning. If Milwaukee loses, the Mets lead in the wild card is up to two games, all but clinching it with five to play.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Maybe Jets coach Eric Mangini should take some pointers from Dolphins coach Tony Sparano; when you play the Patriots, who do not have Tom Brady, you play to win the game, and you do it aggressively.
The Dolphins rolled into Foxboro Mass. and demolished the New England Patriots 38-13 in one of the most dominating performances I have seen in years. Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown was the star of the show as he rushed for 113 yards and four touchdowns, and he threw for a touchdown himself, a 19 yard completion to Anthony Fasano in the third quarter.
Several times in this game, the Fish lined up with ex-Jet Chad Pennington at receiver, and Brown behind center in the shot-gun, and each time the Dolphins scored. On the opening Dolphin drive that started with a interception by New England QB Matt Cassell, Brown scored from two yards out to give the Fish a 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Brown, once again lined up behind center and took the direct snap up the middle for a 15 yard touchdown, 14-3 Dolphins.
Brown added one more before halftime, this one from five yards out to give Miami a dominating 21-6 advantage.
It wasn't only Brown who was having success against the Patriots, Chad Pennington was having fun as well; unlike his ex-teammates in Jersey a week ago, Chad picked the Patriots apart. In fact, he looked fantastic. Pennington went 17 for 20 for 226 yards. Most of his passes were slants up the middle to wide open receivers like Fassano, Ted Ginn Jr. and Greg Camarillo.
Pennington's accuracy between the 20's helped Miami move the ball into positon for Brown to do his work in the red zone.
In the third, the Dolphins, again lined up with Brown at quarterback. The Patriots were expecting a run, but this time, Brown pulled off the half-back option pass and hit a wide open Fassano for the touchdown.
Brown added one more for good measure, taking off for 62 yards in the fourth quarter, as the Fish took a 35-13 lead.
The Patriots looked pathetic on this afternoon. Matt Cassel was awful, completing only 19 of 31 passes for 131 yards; he was also sacked three times. Randy Moss had another quiet afternoon with only four catches for 25 yards. It's only a matter of time before Moss blows up and starts throwing Cassel, Belichick and teamates under the bus like he did in Minnesota and Oakland.
The loss snapped a 21 regular season game winning streak for the Pats. It also was New England's first loss at home since the Jets beat the Patriots 17-14 in November of 2006. The Dolphins win, snapped a string of 17 losses in their last 18 games going back to last season. Also the Fish were the last team to beat the Patriots in the regular season, beating New England 21-0 at the end of the 2006 regular season.
If the Mets make it to the playoffs don't expect them to be there for very long. In fact, their presence in the postseason may be so shortlived that you will forget that they were even there.
With a 4-3 lead the Mets bullpen was at it again. The Mets built their lead thanks to Carlos Delgado and David Wright. Delgado doubled to right in the first inning to drive home Wright, giving New York a 1-0 lead. In the second, Wright hit his 32 homer of the year; this one was a two-run shot to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.
Then, it fell apart. In the seventh, with Scott Schoeneweis pitching, Casey Kotchman lined a single to right center to drive in Omar Infante to tie the game at four. Joe Smith came in, but it didn't get any better. Jeff Franceour tripled to bring in pinch runner Brad Lillibridge; 5-4 Atlanta.
Aaron Heilman came in and things got worse. Heilman walked Chipper Jones intentionally to load the bases for Martin Prado, and Prado made Heilman pay when he doubled to right field to drive home two Braves; 7-4 Atlanta.
I assume at this point that even if the Mets offer Jerry Manuel a contract extension, he might turn it down, considering how AWFUL, HORRENDOUS, TERRIBLE, MISERABLE, PATHETIC, AND OFFENSIVE, this pitching staff is.
The Mets tried to do something in the ninth, Delgado hit a two run homerun to cut the def icit to one, but Damion Easely, who just came off the DL, struck out swinging to end the ballgame.
The Brewers won their game, cutting the Mets lead in the Wild Card to a game one and a half. Oh, by the way, Philadelphia has a 2-0 lead on Florida in the fourth inning.
This was supposed to be another lay up for the Giants; instead, the G-Men are lucky to be 3-0 at this moment. The Bengals came into this game and played crisp, mistake-free football and nearly beat the Giants in Giants Stadium, Sunday afternoon.
Carson Palmer, who was sacked six times by Giant defenders, two of which came from Fred Robbins, still found ways to pick apart the Giants' secondary, especially late in the game. With New York up 16-13 in the fourth quarter, the Bengals started their comeback. On a first and five, Chris Perry rushed for six yards to give Cincy a new first down at their own forty. On the next play, Palmer hit Chad Johnson for a seven yard completion. Palmer then hit T.J. Houshmandzadeh for five more, and back to Johnson for 16 yards.
Now at the Giants 17, Palmer hit Houshmandzadeh again for the touchdown and a stunning 20-16 lead.
But the Giants came back. Eli Manning, who before this drive had a rather underwelming ballgame, hit Steve Smith for 15 yards on a huge third down conversion. Derek Ward took matters into his own hands rushing for 14 yards to put the ball at the Bengals 17 yard line. Three plays later, Manning hit Kevin Boss for the touchdown. Much had been made about Boss's lack of receptions so far this year. Today, he had two, including the biggest of the game.
Still, the Bengals would not go away. Palmer drove the Bengals all the way down the field in the final 1:30. In fact, Palmer even hit Antohy Chatam at the Giant 14. Chatam spun out of a tackle and nearly scored the winning touchdown, but he was finally brought down at the two yard line. The Bengals were running out of time at this point and were forced to settle for a field goal to send the game into OT.
After both teams exchanged unproductive drives, the Giants got the ball with another chance to win. Manning's biggest passes of the day came on this drive. He hit Plaxico Burress down the sideline for 28 yards, and then hit Amani Toomer for 31 yards to put the G-Men at the Bengal seven yard line. The Giants finally kicked the game winner to end a breathtaking afternoon of football.
The Buffalo Bills are red hot! After falling behind the Oakland Raiders by a score of 16-7 late in the third, Trent Edwards and Marshawn Lynch brought Buffalo all the way back for the win.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Buffalo completed a 14 play 8 minute drive that was finished off by Lynch, who scored from three yards out. 16-14, Oakland. Key plays on the drive included Edwards completing a 17 yard pass to Lynch on the second play of the drive. Later, Edwards hit Reggie Royal for 18 yards and Rosco Parrish for 12 more to put Buffalo at the Oakland 32. Edwards hit Jake Reed on a 18 yard slant to put Buffalo at the fourteen. Lynch took it from there, scoring the TD.
Still, the Raiders would not shrink under pressure. Jamarcus Russell hit Jerome Higgins for an 84 yard touchdown to give Oakland a comanding 23-14 lead.
On Buffalo's next drive, Edwards went four of five and led the Bills all the way down to field. Edwards hit his favorite target, Lee Evans, twice on the drive, one for 13 yards and another for 16 to set Buffalo up at the 14 yard line. Finally, Edwards hit Parrish from 14 yards out for the touchdown. 23-21, Raiders.
After an Oakland punt, Lynch took over rushing for 19 yards on Buffalo's final drive. It set up Ryan Lindell with a 38 yard field goal attempt, which he nailed to give Buffalo a one point victory and sole possesion of first place in the AFC East.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Bengals (0-2) @ Giants (2-0): Another cream puff on the Giants schedule. Wow! I always thought teams that won the Super Bowl should get the toughest schedule the next year? Not the G-Men. This one should be easy; smack Carson Palmer around a little bit. Shove dirt into Chad Johnson's mouth and a couple of touchdowns by Eli Manning, Brandon Jacobs and Co. and fans can go home before half time. GIANTS 34, BENGALS 14.
Steelers (2-0) @ Eagles (2-0): Great matchup in week three. In a way it is a shame to have these two play so early in the season; it would have been more fun if there were more on the line other than remaining undefeated for another week. Anyway, the Eagles have found a way to score with a bunch of no-name receivers, and Donavan McNabb is healthy again. As for Pittsburgh,it is business as usual after thumping two bad teams in a row. It won't be so easy this week. EAGLES 24, STEELERS 21.
Jaguars (0-2) @ Colts (1-1): If you had told me that when these two teams play in week three they would be fighting to keep their season alive, I would have thought you were drunk. Well, that is the case here. Another loss and the Jaguars can start thinking about the 2009 draft in April. David Garrard has been awful and is showing the world why he was a back-up quarterback before last season. As for the Colts, they got lucky last week in Minnesota. If it weren't for the Vikings playing ... well ... like the Vikings, the Colts would be 0-2 as well. Peyton and Co. need to play a complete game soon, or the concerns about this team will continue to mount. COLTS 20, JAGUARS 17.
Cowboys (2-0) @ Packers (2-0): The Cowboys got really lucky last week against Philadelphia. If the Eagles hadn't played horrendous defense, the Boys would have suffered an awful defeat. Even though they scored 41 points, it was the most nondescript offensive output I have seen in years. As for Green Bay, they are rolling right now. Aaron Rodgers has looked fantastic, but facing the Cowboys will be his first true test. If the game were in Dallas, I wouldn't give the Pack a shot here, but the game is Green Bay, so ... PACKERS 28, COWBOYS 21.
Jets (1-1) @ Chargers (0-2): The Jets did everything they could to lose last week against New England. Can someone tell Eric Mangini that Brett Favre is HIS quarterback, NOT Chad Pennington. Let Favre run the game the way he sees fit; if you do, the Jets may actually win a game before the calendar turns to 2009. The Chargers are really pissed off; they have lost two games in a row on the final play, and should be extra motivated to come out and really spank someone on national TV. Sorry, Jets bend over! CHARGERS 38, JETS 14.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The schedules are out early for the 2009 season. Usually, the schedules are not revealed until late November, but, I guess, with the opening of two new ballparks, the Mets and Yanks couldn't help themselves.
The Bombers will open the "New" Yankee Stadium on April 14 against the Cleveland Indians. The Mets, on the other hand, will open Citi Field on April 13 against the San Diego Padres, not the LA Dodgers, which would have been more fitting, considering Citi Field looks a lot like Ebbets Field, the old home of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Yankees open 2009 officially on April 7 in Baltimore, while the Mets start in Cincinnati on April 7. Oddly enough, the season will open a week later than usual.
As for interleague: the Yankees will welcome the Phillies, Nationals and Mets into New Yankee Stadium. The Bombers will also travel to Citi Field to play the Mets and will also visit the Marlins and Braves.
Meanwhile, the Mets will play host to the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays and will visit the Red Sox and Orioles. The Mets will not see the Blue Jays; instead, they will get an extra series against their former division rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.
View Yankee Schedule
View Mets Schedule
1) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) - Not an impressive win in Cleveland, but a win nonetheless. The Steelers stout defense and solid offense puts them over their AFC counterparts, and any good team the NFC has to offer.
2) N.Y. Giants (2-0)- The Steelers match up well with any NFC team except this one. The Giants are rolling over their opponents and look sharper than last year's team that won it all. An easy schedule could have the G-Men at 6-0 before they play the Steelers at the end of October.
3) Dallas Cowboys (2-0) - This much we know about the Boys; they can score at will, but play absoultely no defense. Not exactly the kind of formula you want to use when competing in the NFC East. Cowboys are in for a rude awakening this week in Green Bay.
4) Buffalo Bills (2-0) - Wow! The Bills have jumped up to number 4, and if they keep beating up good teams, they will jump to number one. Great job by a gritty and gutsy young football team to go into Jacksonville and beat up a once formidable Jaguars. The Bills are going places in 2008 so watch out!
5) Denver Broncos (2-0) -Okay, okay; so the referees screwed up in the Denver/San Diego game and basically awarded Denver a victory, but you still have to be impressed by the emergence of Jay Cutler and the receivers on this offense. They are starting to look like the Broncos of old, and with an favorable schedule over the next four weeks, they can really pad their lead in the Western division.
6) Green Bay Packers (2-0) - I am really impressed with Aaron Rodgers; the kid is starting to make people in Wisconsin forget about Brett Favre. Rodgers torched the Lions a week ago, throwing bombs all over the field to wide open receivers and Green Bay won 48-25. Again, just too much talent for Green Bay to not be successful.
7) Carolina Panthers (2-0) - Another come from behind win against the Bears has the Panthers roaring at 2-0. It appears that, for the first time in a few years, they are totally healthy, and, if that's the case, the Cats should be favored to win the South.
8) New England Patriots (2-0) - Who needs Tom Brady? The Patriots made it clear on Sunday that it doesn't matter who is driving the car, there are just too many good parts on that Mustang for it not to work well. All Matt Cassel has to do is drive the game, while the likes of Randy Moss, Laurence Maroney, Wes Welker and Co. will do the rest.
9) Philadlephia Eagles (1-1) - Hey, the Eagles have found an offense!! Rolling up 37 points in Big D was a step in the right direction for the Eagles. Donovan McNabb looks healthy for the first time in three years, and that is not good for NFC opponents.
10) Tennessee Titans (2-0) - They may have lost Vince Young, but that may prove to be a good thing because Young's head is too much in the clouds for him to focus on winning. Still, Young's teammates are focused and have allowed only 17 points in two games. If the Indy Colts are not carefull, the Titans could emerge victorious in the AFC South.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Now, after losing two of three to the Phillies, losing two of three to Atlanta and losing the opener to Washington this week, the Mets find themselves just a half game in front of the surging Phillies.
The Mets were in prime position to erase the ghosts of 2007, but it appears that those ghosts are as alive now as they were last year. The Mets put forth a mediocre effort last night in Washington. Pedro Martinez was awful, giving up four runs in just five innings, and it is obvious that he doesn't have it anymore.
Maybe the Mets just don't have it anymore. It doesn't matter who the manager is, the players on this team are experts at choking away big leads. They deserve a PhD in the effort. The bullpen is awful, as many know. Second base has been a rollercoaster all year with Luis Castillo, Damion Easley and Argenis Reyes swapping for starts.
Yet, the difference between this team and last year's team is that up to this point, the 2008 Mets have given us effort. They have tried their best to erase the memories of last August and September. Whenever they are down, they seem to bounce back, i.e., Carlos Beltran's grand slam in Florida on August 28 to give the Mets a huge win after they suffered a huge loss the previous night.
Carlos Delgado has been clutch throughout the second half, hitting once clutch homer after another. Fernando Tatis has been a godsend, hitting 11 homers and 45 RBI as a reserve player in left for the injured Mosies Alou. Brian Schnieder and Ryan Church have proven to be stable acquisitions that have solidified right field and the catcher's position. Johan Satana has been brilliant and Mike Pelfrey has been Amazin'.
Yet, the Mets find themselves in the same position as last year.
If they blow it now, it will be a bigger heartbreak than 2007. In 2007, you could see it coming. Whether it was watching the Mets get blasted on the West Coast in June and July of 2007, or Billy Wagner blowing a 10-8 Met lead in Philadelphia only to see the Mets lose 11-10 in late August 2007. The handwriting was on the wall last year; it is not in 2008 - meaning anything but a division title and the postseason will be a HUGE, MEGA, ULTRA disappointment and a clear statement that a new regime will have to be in place in 2009.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
So your opponent is missing its star quarterback; you have a star quarterback, and a team you revamped, dishing out $140 million in the process, so how to do you screw it up? You play stupid, undisciplined and plain out pathetic football.
The Jets were punished for six crucial penalties that cost them 60 yards, and several important plays of positive yardage that could have put them in position to score more than 10 points.
At one point, he connected with Chansi Stuckey on a beautiful rope down the sideline for 28 yards that would have put the Jets at the Patriots 25, but Stuckey was called for offensive pass interference; he had shoved Randell Gay to the ground before making the catch. Eventually, Favre was picked off on the drive because his arm must have been ready to fall off.
Add to the misery, the Jets on their opening drive of the game ended in failure; new-comer Jay Feeley missed a cheap-shot field goal that would have given the Jets a 3-0 lead and needed momentum. Laverneous Coles did nothing to change the headlines that he openly misses Chad Pennington and is dogging it intentionally. Coles dropped three catchable balls that were in his grasp. Coles usually never drops anything, but today he dropped three balls.
As for the Patriots, they really did nothing to win the game. Matt Cassel was decent; he had his moments. He connected mostly to Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk on the sidelines but really could not avoid the constant pressure the Jets defense put on him. The Jets sacked Cassel three times, and even held Laurence Maroney to just 16 yards rushing on eight carries.
This loss is brutal for the Jets; they had it all in front of them and had chances very early in the game to win. If they had scored on their opening drive of the game and had the crowd behind them, Cassel and the Pats may have shrunk under the pressure and may not have driven down the field for a go-ahead field goal that made it 3-0.
If the Jets hadn't committed a million penalties, they could have easily scored 20 points in this game, good enough to win. If Jay Feeley and Ben Graham weren't kicking the football as if they were kicking a boulder, then, perhaps, the Jets would have had better field positon and three points to keep the game interesting.
A lot of if's! A lot of shoulda, coulda, woulda ... but it doesn't matter, it's a loss. The Jets are in big trouble. Any hopes of making the playoffs are now dangling in midair.
With the Buffalo Bills blowing over elite teams like the Seahawks and Jaguars, and the Patriots looking, well, like the Patriots, the Jets chances of winning the division or grabbing a wild card look a lot harder. They better win in San Diego on Monday, if not, maybe Favre should re-consider his retirement plans.
Eli Manning was, well, fantastic!!!! Manning went 20 of 29 for 260 yards and three touchdowns. It's pretty obvious that with a Super Bowl under his belt, Manning is now a different player. The old Eli might have thrown up a goose egg in this game, but not the New Eli, who is the reigning Super Bowl MVP!
The G-Men wasted no time in setting the tone for this day. With 6:11 to go in the first, Manning hit Plaxico Burress from 33 yards out for the TD and a 7-0 lead. The Giants and Rams swapped field goals in the second quarter, but the Giants still led 13-6 into the break.
Once the second half started, the Giants welcomed everyone back to their seats, as Mannig hit Amani Toomer right down the middle from the 10 yard line to take a 20-6 lead.
But, the Rams tried to make it interesting. Marc Bulger hit Tory Holt for a 45 yard sprint to cut the Giants lead to a single touchdown. Now the Giants had to sweat it out a bit.
Did I say sweat? I am sorry, that is not even in the Giants vocabulary! Manning answered as he drilled a pass to Amhad Bradshaw from 18 yards out to give the Giants a 27-13 lead. Later in the fourth quarter, Justin Tuck picked off a Bulger pass and took it to the house to all but put this game away, 34-13 GGGGGGGG-Men! The Giants are 2-0 and are well on their way to rolling back to the postseason. Next week: Home against the pathetic Cincinnati Bengals. Yawn! Another win!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Jonathan Niese has been praised as the Mets top pitching prospect in their minor league system over the last year, and tonight the lefty showed New York exactly why the Mets organization has praised him with so much hype.
Niese, who looks like a skinny college kid, not your typical muscular major league pitcher, overpowered the Atlanta Braves for eight shutout innings. He threw 116 pitches in the effort, and after popping out Kelly Johnson to end the eighth, it appeared that Niese still had enough in the tank to complete the effort. Still, eight innings was enough. Niese struck out seven Braves, walked two and surrendered only seven hits. Excellent job by a kid making only his second major league start.
Offensively, the Mets brought out the thunder; something they did not do in game one. In the first, with Ryan Church on, David Wright blasted a two run shot to the right of the apple in center field to give New York a 2-0 lead. It was Wright's 29th homer of the year. He is one homerun away from tying a career high.
Carlos Beltran singled to left and later stole third. Fernando Tatis drove in Beltran with a shot to center, handing the Mets a 3-0 lead.
Jose Reyes, who was popping balls up throughout game one, finally got into one, launching a solo shot into the bleachers to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.
Beltran closed out the scoring in the seventh with a solo blast of his own, this one landing in the visitor's bullpen in left.
The Mets re-extend their lead over the Phillies to 2.5 games in the NL East. The Mets look to win the rubber game tomorrow afternoon at 1:00. Oliver Perez will make the start for New York.
The Phillies are not dead yet! In fact, they are very much alive in both the NL East race and the NL Wild Card race. Tonight the Phillies destroyed the Brewers to take game two of a four game series at Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia.
The Phillies wasted no time in this one. With Jimmy Rollins on base with a lead-off single; Chase Utley doubled to right field to drive home Rollins to give Philadelphia a quick 1-0 lead. Later in the innning, Shane Victorino drove home Jason Werth, as he punched a single to left. 2-0 Phillies.
The Phillies added on in the second. Rollins lead off with a double and Utley hit an infield single to the pitcher's mound. Werth walked, and Ryan Howard broke it open with a single to left. Driving home both Rollins and Utley.
Fast forward to the sixth inning, and Rollins delivered again. This time Rollins blasted a two-run homerun to right field givng the the Phillies a 7-2 lead, all but ending the game.
The Phillies now trail the Brewers by exactly two games for the Wild Card. They also trail the Mets by two games in the NL East. The Phillies and Brewers will play a day/night double-headertomorrow, becuase of Friday's turential rainstorms that ravaged the country.
Not exactly what the Mets needed in an important double header at Shea Stadium today. The Mets struggled to scratch out runs and struggled to get outs in the first game against the Atlanta Braves, losing 3-2.
The Mets had a 2-0 lead going into the sixth inning and a chance to find more. With the bases loaded, Braves pitcher Mike Hampton went 3-0 on Damion Easley. It appeared that he was in danger of walking in a run, or, maybe, the Mets could get a big base hit to drive in a few more runs to give Johan Santana more room to work his magic. Neither happened. Easley grounded into a double play to kill the Mets chances and give Atlanta hope.
In the eighth, Santana lost control of his game. He gave up singles to Brian McCann and Yunel Escobar. Jerry Manuel had no choice but to pull Santana at this point. His pitch count was too high and the Mets needed outs. Scott Schoenwise came in and procceeded to give up a single to Casey Kotchman to load the basesfor the Braves.
Manuel came out again and replaced Schoenwise with Brian Stokes. Stokes has been reliable of late but was not tonight. He surrendered a two-run RBI single to Jeff Francouer, tying the game at two. Stokes later surrendered a sacrifice fly to Omar Infante, allowing Kotchman to score with the winning run.
The Mets loss is huge. The Phillies won their game against Milwaukee and have now trimmed the Mets lead to two games. At least the Mets have something of a net; if the Brewers keep losing the Mets could always settle for the wild card if the Phillies pull the division title away for the second straight season.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
2) Dallas Cowboys (1-0) - Their convincing win over the struggling Browns showed America that the Boys are indeed focused on the prize. Big challenge in the next two weeks: home vs. Philadelphia and at Green Bay.
3) N.Y. Giants (1-0) - They are the World Champs and are still one of the league's elite until someone stops them. With an easy schedule until Halloween, the Giants will be rolling in 2008.
4) New Orleans Saints (1-0) - Came all the way back to beat the Buccaneers in a huge home game. It might be a preview of things to come for the Saints in 2008.
5) Carolina Panthers (1-0) - It's easy to forget that the Panthers were an NFC favorite to go to the Super Bowl in 2005 and 2006. Well, they are back after a improbable victory in San Diego as Jake Delhome won the game with a touhdown pass in the final two seconds of the game. Watch out if they stay healthy.
6) Chicago Bears (1-0) - Every year people expect the Bears to fold, but each year they suprise everyone and make a postseason charge. Shocking the Colts in Week One was a good start in that direction.
7) N.Y. Jets (1-0) - What a difference Brett Favre is making in New York. The Jets offense played crisp football for three quarters. In the fourth quarter, they had to sweat things out a bit, but the play of corners Dwight Lowery, Darrell Revis and linebacker Calvin Pace has this defense playing at a high level. With Tom Brady out for the Pats, the Jets are now one of the AFC favorites.
8) Buffalo Bills (1-0) - The Bills were a tough team to beat last year, this year they look even better. Beating up an elite team like the Seahawks was a good start in the right direction. The Bills have a good future for 2008, especially with Tom Brady out for the Patriots.
9) Green Bay Packers (1-0) - Impressive start for Aaron Rodgers. The kid looked like a seasoned veteran in his first NFL start against a good Vikings defense. The Packers, with veteran talent, should be fine in 2008.
10) San Diego Chargers (0-1) - Even though they lost in the final seconds to Carolina, the Chargers look like they will be very good this year. Phillip Rivers was slinging the ball all over the field in week one, and, defensivley, they are too talented not to figure out how to live without Shawn Merriman.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
A year ago if the Mets let a 5-2 lead suddenly become a 7-5 Nationals lead, they probably would have curled into a fetal position and lost the game. This year's team is the complete opposite. The Mets fought back in a night of bad pitching from Oliver Perez to beat the last place Nats 10-8 at Shea Stadium, Tuesday night.
Once again, Carlos Delgado was at the center of the victory. If you asked any Met fan in April what numbers they thought Delgado would put up this year, they probably would tell you that he would hit maybe 17 to 20 homers and 85-90 RBI. Well, he has proven everyone wrong.
Since the end of July, Delgado has 24 homeruns and 68 RBI. He now has 35 homers and 103 RBI on the year, and he has tied Dave Kingman for most multi-homerun games in a single season. Kingman had seven multi-homer games in 1976. Delgado, with his performance tonight, tied that mark.
With the game tied at two in the third inning, the Mets put on their hitting shoes. Ryan Church blasted his 12th homer of the year to right field to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. David Wright followed with a single, and Carlos Beltran doubled. Wright tried to score on Beltran's double, but he was tagged out at home. Delgado then came up and lifted the pitch all the way to center field for a two-run homerun to give New York a 5-2 lead.
Oliver Perez couldn't hold it. In the fourth, he walked Aaron Boone and gave up a single to Will Nieves. Alex Gonzalez then laced a base hit to left to drive home Boone to make it 5-3. Next the Nationals pulled even at five. Former Met Anderson Hernandez got some revenge on his former team, when he singled to center field driving in both Nieves and Gonzalez.
Perez was pulled from the game after he gave up a single to Christian Guzman. Nelson Figueroa came in and it didn't get better for the Mets. Ryan Zimmerman singled up the middle driving in the go-ahead run. Lastings Milledge, also got some revenge on the Mets, lacing a single up the middle as well to drive in Guzman, giving the Nats a 7-5 lead.
Still, the Mets tried to get back into the game. In the fourth inning, with Brian Schnieder and Jose Reyes on base, Church grounded out into an RBI as he dribbled the ball to second. Schnieder had enough time to come in from third and scored to cut the Nationals lead to 7-6.
Lastly, David Wright, who has struggled all year with runners in scoring position, delivered a game tying hit, as he flicked the ball to left field drivng in Reyes.
The Nationals would not relent. With Brandon Knight pitching for the Mets, the bottom of the Nationals order teed off the minor leaguer. Nieves walked and Pete Orr singled to make this very interesting. Hernandez capped it off with another base hit, this one good enough to drive home Nieves for the lead.
Again the Mets had to comeback. With Chruch on base, Carlos Beltran blasted a two run shot that just cleared the wall in left center in front of the bleachers. The homerun gave New York a 9-8 lead. Finally, Delgado put an exclimation point on the evening belting a solo shot that bounced off the strikeout scoreboard in the Mets bullpen. 10-8 New York.
Joe Smith, Scott Schoenwies, Brian Stokes and Luis Ayala combined to shutdown Washington in the final three innings of the game for the win. The Mets are still two games in front of Philadelphia for first in the NL East.
Monday, September 8, 2008
It will require surgery and he will have to miss participating in baseball action for a full calendar year.
The Mets will have to rely on Luis Ayala as the team's closer for the rest of this year. In the off-season, expect the Mets to go hard for K-Rod Fransico Rodriguez of the Anaheim Angles, to be the Mets closer in 2009 and beyond.
Wagner is 36 years old and it will be interesting to see if this injury ends his career. More later...
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Johan Santana gave the Mets exactly what they needed, a solid peformance against their arch-rival in the division. After giving up a run in the first inning, Santana settled down nicely and ended up pitching seven and a third innings of yoeman work, holding the Phillies to just two runs on five hits. Santana also had six strikeouts in the game.
Offensively, the Mets teed off on ace Cole Hamels, tagging him for five runs, four earned, in just five innings of work.
In the bottom of the first the Mets wasted no time in getting back into the game. Ryan Churchh singled to left with one out to give the Mets some hope. David Wright reached on a catchers intererence and fielding error by Phillie catcher Chris Coste. Finally, Carlos Beltran deliered a single to left to drive home Chruch and move Wright to third. Carlos Delgado then signled to center to drive in wright and Beltran, giving the Mets a 3-1 advantage.
That was all Santana needed as he mastered the Phillies the rest of the night. The Phillies managed only three hits off of Santana the rest of the night, and never had a chance to get back into the game.
Later in the game, Carlos Delgado really got into it, as he has all year. In the third, Delgado blasted a homerun to the scoreboard in right field to give New York a 4-2 lead. Finally in the fifth Delgado did it again, blasting a fastball to the mezzanine level in right field. 5-2 New York.
The win is the Mets 80th of the year, and they are now two games up on the Phillies for first in the NL East.