Meet the Mets
With today being July 1st, I want you to think back four months. It was the beginning of March and the first spring training games of the season were just kicking off. What were your expectations? Probably low, right? Now imagine what people would've said back then if you predicted that on July 1st, Johan Santana would have thrown 98 innings with a 3.37 FIP to go along with the Mets' first no-hitter. How about if you said that David Wright would rank second in the majors in Fangraphs WAR, just a touch behind Joey Votto? What if you said R.A. Dickey would strike out over a batter an inning and be the favorite to start the All-Star game? After the Mets beat the Dodgers 5-0 on Saturday evening, they are sitting pretty with a 43-36 record and that's good enough for second place in the NL East behind the Nationals. If you predicted all of this and then said that Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy would all combine for negative WAR, people probably would've said that you were insane. And yet, this is what has happened through three months of the 2012 season. Some of it seems to defy logic, yet it's real and it's been a ton of fun to watch. Saturday was no different, as Santana tossed eight scoreless innings, handcuffing the woeful Dodger offense for most of the night. The Mets scored two runs on sacrifice flies before Ike Davis contributed a three-run bomb to dead center field to give the Mets a cushion. Davis, Murphy and Kirk Nieuwenhuis each contributed a pair of hits and Bobby Parnell pitched a clean ninth to finish things off. The first three months of the 2012 season have been surprising, but they've also been incredibly enjoyable. Here's hoping that the next four months turn out even better.
Heading into this series, Sunday's matchup looked to be the most daunting on paper. After the Mets took the first three games from the Dodgers, however, it looks much less so. Dodgers' ace Clayton Kershaw toes the rubber up against Dillon Gee tonight at 8 PM on ESPN. Personally, I'm not expecting a victory tonight but it'd really be nice to get this one.
Terry Collins is trying to figure out how to set up his pitching rotation the next few days with R.A. Dickey likely to pitch in the All-Star game.
The Mets announced the signing of six more draft picks on Saturday, including second-rounder Matt Reynolds out of Arkansas. Reynolds has been assigned to Savannah, where he will play shortstop for now. With Reynolds' signing, that leaves prep RHP Teddy Stankiewicz as the only unsigned player among their top 10 round picks.
Buffalo righty Matt Harvey has been throwing much better of late and Toby Hyde has some quotes from Wally Backman and Harvey himself on his most recent outing, a seven inning gem in which he allowed just a pair of hits and a walk while striking out nine.
2011 first rounder Brandon Nimmo hit his first home run of the season for the Brooklyn Cyclones last night, a grand slam to right field, which capped off a 6-2 victory for the Cyclones. The 19-year old outfielder went 2-4 on the night and is now hitting .200/.407/.325 with a pair of doubles, that home run and 13 walks compared to 10 strikeouts.
Around the NL East
The Marlins defeated the Phillies 3-2, closing out apocalyptic months for both teams. The Marlins went 8-18 in June, while the Phillies went 9-19 and ended up dealing Jim Thome away to the Orioles. While Thome always seemed like a strange fit for the Phils, could this be the start of a firesale for them? In Atlanta, the Braves defeated the Nationals 7-5 as Stephen Strasburg left the game in the fourth because of heat-related issues.
Around the Majors
Carlos Lee is still mulling over a possible trade to the Dodgers and it looks like he'll make a decision on Sunday. Word on Saturday afternoon was that Lee was going to decline to waive his no-trade clause but we'll have to see what happens today. Not sure if Lee's really that big an upgrade, though. His power disappeared three to four years ago.
Diamondbacks righty Daniel Hudson will have to undergo Tommy John surgery and he'll miss the rest of the season. Hudson had a breakout year in 2011 but 2012 had been a struggle before the diagnosis of a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
Joey Votto left the Reds' game on Saturday with pain in his knee and has been diagnosed with some left knee inflammation. Obviously, losing Votto for any length of time would be a huge deal for the Reds. He's been the best player in the majors through the first half of the year.