Meet the Mets
The theme from the start of Saturday afternoon's 3-1 victory over the Cubs was the fact that the Mets were once again employing a completely homegrown lineup. It was the second time in 2012 and the fourth time in team history that the Mets had put out a homegrown lineup and on this day, it worked. Dillon Gee got the start for the Mets and the former 21st rounder out of the University of Texas-Arlington continued to show improvement, dominating the Cubs over eight innings. Of course, we all know that win/loss record is meaningless but while Gee's ERA sits at an acceptable yet unexciting 4.10 this season, the underlying peripherals paint a much prettier picture: a 3.68 FIP and 3.51 xFIP portend to more success down the line, thanks to a strikeout rate just a hair under eight per nine innings and a walk rate just above two and a quarter. Keeping those pesky baseballs in the park at a lower rate would go a long way toward Gee's ERA matching up with the other indicators.
On the offensive side, Jordany Valdespin got the start in left field and started the scoring with a solo home run, his second in as many days. Ike Davis joined the party, launching a two-run shot in the third. The Cubs scratched a run across in the sixth against Gee but after that, there would be no more run scoring in this one. Despite allowing a leadoff double to Anthony Rizzo, Bobby Parnell looked great in the ninth, pumping 100 MPH fastballs past Cubs hitters. Parnell got some help from his defense, as Ruben Tejada made a sensational over the shoulder catch in left center field to turn a potential bloop double into the second out of the inning. After that, the rest was easy, as Parnell struck out Steve Clevenger to close it out. Except for a Scott Hairston pinch hitting appearance, the Mets used only homegrown players and won once again. Remember that time when the Mets' farm system was so totally barren? Yeah, about that.
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In the final game of the first half of 2012, the Mets look to claim the rubber match of their series with the Cubs. Jon Niese gets the ball and he'll face off against veteran righty Ryan Dempster, who's making his return from the DL. Game time is at 1:10 PM and you can catch the action on SNY.
Frank Francisco is nearing a rehab game in St. Lucie, potentially this coming Wednesday. Frank threw off of a mound yesterday for the first time since straining his oblique and is likely to throw one more time. While Terry Collins has made clear Francisco will get his job back, Bobby Parnell has looked pretty strong in his place. At the least, you have to hope TC uses Parnell in the highest leverage situations over other choices (ahem Miguel Batista ahem).
Steve Serby chatted with GM Sandy Alderson in the Post and the Sand-man mentioned that the Mets are "serious lookers" at the moment, in terms of the trade market. It's so nice to just be able to have the opportunity to think about being buyers on the trade market, considering expectations coming into the year. Also, it's nice to know this regime won't do anything crazy (Zack Wheeler for Jonathan Sanchez or some nightmare scenario).
Terry Collins says that Jason Bay will return to his regular spot in left field when he gets back from the disabled list. Collins says that the team needs his bat. I'll agree but add that they only need his bat against lefthanded pitchers.
Johan Santana's ankle is fine and the lefty will start the second half opener. His poor start on Friday aside, I'm pretty ecstatic that Santana has given the Mets 102.2 innings of 3.24 ERA/3.62 FIP pitching in the first half. Here's hoping he can keep this up through October.
David Wright has been incredible, hitting .352/.443/.567 through the first half of the year and some of the credit for his renewed offensive success can be given to the time he spent in Port St. Lucie last season rehabbing his back injury.
Around the NL East
The Nationals keep winning when the Mets win, as they defeated the Rockies 4-1. Meanwhile, the Braves beat the Phillies 6-3 behind Tommy Hanson and Michael Bourn. The Marlins lost to the Cardinals 3-2.
Around the Majors
Bad news for the Marlins (and Ted Berg), as OF/Man Amongst Men Giancarlo Stanton is going to have arthroscopic surgery on his knee and miss 4-6 weeks. As a result, Stanton will miss the All-Star festivities, meaning we won't get to see him smack tape measure home runs into Kauffman Stadium's fountains. This is a true shame. Andrew McCutchen will replace Stanton in the derby, while 19 year old Bryce Harper will replace Stanton on the National League's roster.
Nationals' SS Ian Desmond has decided to rest his strained oblique, meaning he'll miss Tuesday's game. Braves' OF Michael Bourn, who could be a starter with the way he's played this year, will replace him on the roster.
Zack Greinke was ejected from his start on Saturday without recording an out. After allowing a leadoff triple, Greinke got a groundball to first base but he didn't cover the bag and the runner was called safe. Greinke spiked the ball and the first base umpire tossed him from the game, though Greinke acknowledged that he was angry at himself afterwards.
The Reds are one of a few teams interested in Phillies' outfielder Juan Pierre, for some reason.
The Orioles have inquired on Zack Greinke and Wandy Rodriguez. These don't seem like moves the O's should be making but I guess it doesn't hurt to inquire. Meanwhile, 2B Brian Roberts may need hip surgery. Too bad the O's didn't deal him a few years ago when the Cubs were perpetually interested in acquiring him.
Finally, retired righty Kerry Wood revealed something interesting regarding his 20-strikeout game back in 1998: Wood said that it was on strikeout #20, a nasty hook to Derek Bell, that he felt something wrong in his elbow for the first time in his life.