Showing posts from July, 2023

Max to Tex

A day after closer David Robertson's trade to Miami prompted  Max Scherzer  to tell reporters that he needed to "talk to the [Mets] brass," the future Hall of Famer was traded to the Texas Rangers.   Clearly unhappy on a club whose season went sour amidst huge expectations, Max leaves New York with a 20-9 record in 42 starts, along with a disaster of a Wild Card series start last October, when the Padres roasted him for seven runs in 4-2/3 innings. His 2023 mark was underwhelming: even with Friday's seven innings with just one run allowed,he sports a  4.01 ERA with 121 strikeouts over 107 2/3 innings -- and a career-worst 1.9 home runs per nine innings. Now, Scherzer will try to fill the shoes of another ex-Met.  Jacob deGrom's season is over (as likely is his 2024) following Tommy John surgery.  With the ex-Cy Young winner on the shelf, and Nate Eovaldi again dealing with arm issues, Scherzer will get the chance to save the Rangers season, while the Mets finish p

If Your Birthday is July 28th...

Image share it with Walker Buehler , the Dodgers pitcher hoping to make it back in September after 2022 Tommy John surgery.  Already with 14- and 16-win seasons (and two All Star game appearances) to his credit, a healthy Buehler is the logical successor to Clayton Kershaw as LA's ace -- as well as arm who could be the difference as the Dodgers battle to stay ahead of the Giants and Diamondbacks in the NL West. Tylor Megill was a dependable middle-of-the-rotation starter for the '21 Mets, before dealing with injuries in 2022.  And this year, the Californian never got on track, before being optioned to their Syracuse farm club in late June.  (My image is from a June '22 rehab start for Binghamton.) Some other names you might recognize in our July 28th birthday circle: Spencer Howard , once a top pitching prospect for the Phillies, who has struggled with the Rangers since a deadline 2021 trade to Texas. Carmelo Martinez homered for the Cubs in his first big league at bat.

10 Summers Ago in Queens

While looking for a photo of a different Met from the 2013 season -- I'll explain who and why later on -- I landed on the game of August 26th , and discovered three young players all in Flushing pinstripes, whose careers are still going strong a decade later.  Of course, none of them now call New York home.  Just a random night when the 6-7-8 hitters were (top to bottom) Wilmer Flores , Travis d'Arnaud and Justin Turner . Teammates on the 2013 Mets -- not a very good club, finishing 74-88 -- and still productive major leaguers today: Flores with the Giants, d'Arnaud with the Braves and Turner, in the midst of a nice bounce-back year with the Red Sox. Could anyone have predicted that on this night in '13 where their baseball journeys would take them -- and that all would find their best years in cities other than New York? Now onto that other Met, the one whose photo I was looking for... it was Matt Harvey (below).  He didn't pitch that night.  The star-crossed hu

Big Time Arms on Display in AA

Sunday afternoon's game in Binghamton featured a matchup of two of the best pitching prospects in AA ball, Christian Scott of the Mets (above) and Ty Madden from the Pirates' Erie Seawolves; both drafted in 2021 and likely on their way to the majors.  In just his third start since being promoted from Single-A Brooklyn, Scott (above) threw four shutout innings, allowing just two hits (with no walks) while striking out six.  Madden worked five innings and totaled 10 k's.  Dented for a solo home run by the Rumble Ponies Agustin Ruiz, he otherwise displayed the talent that has him ranked number five among all Pittsburgh prospects.   It's also worth noting that both Scott (Florida) and Madden (Texas) came from from big time college programs, which often shortens the timeline to reach the majors, compared to high school kids or teenagers from Latin America.

If Your Birthday is July 21st...

Image share it with CC Sabathia , whose 251 career victories (134 as a Yankee) and 3093 strikeouts will likely punch his ticket to Cooperstown in 2026.  The California native thrived in New York: winning a World Series his first season, when he won 19, then 21 and 19 games, finishing in the Top 4 of voting for the Cy Young Award.   Odds are his 52 will be the next Yankee uniform number to be retired.  Also on today's cake and candles list: Mike Bordick , a capable shortstop who spent 13 of his 14 big league seasons with the A's and Orioles. Geoff Jenkins , the power-hitting 3rd baseman best known for his decade with the Milwaukee Brewers. Al Hrabosky , the often-animated pitcher nicknamed The Mad Hungarian, appeared in 545 games with the Cardinals, Royals and Braves during the '70s and '80s -- all but one as a reliever. He's enjoyed a far longer second career as a member of the Cardinals TV team.  

On This Date in 1960

Juan Marichal makes a splash in his major league debut, pitching a  one-hit 2-0 shutout as the Giants blank the Phillies.  He retired the first 19 batters before Tony Taylor reached on a Jim Davenport error in the 7th.  That, a walk two batters later to Pancho Herrera and Clay Dalrymple's 8th inning pinch single were all that stood between the rookie and perfection. It was a sign of great things to come for the Dominican native.  There'd be 242 more victories -- all but five in a San Francisco uniform -- six 20-win seasons, 10 shutouts in 1965 and a remarkable 30 complete games in 1968 en route to Cooperstown. ( My top image came from the 2012 BAT Dinner; the smaller one is from the 2008 All Star Parade up the Avenue of the Americas in New York.)  

The New York Nexts?

Over the weekend, Binghamton hosted the latest edition of the Junior Subway Series as the AA Mets played their Eastern League rivals from Somerset.  That meant another chance to see Jasson Domingue z.  And Saturday night, the Yankees top prospect delivered.  Above, he's watching the ball he just crushed fly toward and past the left field fence.  Rumble Ponies left fielder Jaylen Palmer got an even closer look. It's no secret that "The Martian" has struck out too much (98 in 358 plate appearances); but he also walks a lot (64 times so far).  He just doesn't see a lot of strikes -- opposing teams treat him almost as if he's Barry Bonds.  But when he makes contact, it's sweet.  You hear that special sound when bat meets ball.  Oh, besides the homer, Dominguez also singled (hard), walked and, batting righthanded late in the game, smacked another laser to the opposite field that stayed in the park. And apparently I'm not the only person focusing my camera o

If Your Birthday is July 14th...

Image share it with Robin Ventura .  The six-time Gold Glove winner is best known for his decade with the White Sox -- a club he later managed -- but is also part of that select circle who have played for both the Yankees and Mets.     Same for   Tim Loscastro .  Best known for his strong defense and base stealing skills, he's also spent time with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.  I captured this last summer with the Yankees' Scranton farm club.  He played 11 games with the Mets earlier this season before a thumb injury wiped out the rest of his 2023. Jack Leathersich  --  Jack WHO?? -- a lefty reliever that appeared in 17 games for the 2015 Mets, before a mid-season injury led to Tommy John Surgery.  He pitched in seven games for the 2017 Cubs and Pirates, but never regained the form that brought him to Flushing. This trio shares July 14th with a revered name in New York baseball history.  Born in 1908,  Johnny Murphy  was the Yankees "Fireman," the ace relief pitcher

On This Date in 1949

In the most important All Star Game since its 1933 inaugural, baseball's mid-summer classic is finally integrated.  Two years after the  color barrier is broken, future Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby and Roy Campanella, plus Don Newcombe (who deserves further consideration) become the first African Americans all to see action, as the American League wins 11-7 at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field — the perfect setting.   Jackie had an early impact, after doubling in the bottom of the 1st inning, he came around to score on Stan Musial’s two/run homer.    

Francisco Alvarez

His power bat  has helped energize the Mets lineup.  While he works on upgrading his defense, no one can dispute that this 21 year old budding star has become a beacon of hope and proof that building from within is still the smartest way to craft a winning team. It was fun watching him "matriculate" through the Mets two top farm teams a year ago, ending 2022 in Syracuse, after dominating AA pitching with Binghamton.

If Your Birthday is July 7th...

Image share it with the world's most famous rock and roll drummer. Ringo Starr. While there's little info to connect him with baseball -- unlike his onetime band-mate, there aren't any pictures of him enjoying a game at Yankee Stadium (or anywhere else) -- plenty of  ballplayers  share his birthday. And the odds are that some of them are Beatle fans. Tim Teufel , the Greenwich, Connecticut product broke into the majors as a Twin, but is best remembered as Wally Backman's righty platoon partner at 2nd base on the champion '86 Mets.   Statistically, his best season (when he hit .308 and drove in 61 runs) came a year later.  After his playing career ended, he returned to Flushing and served as the Mets 3rd base coach for several years. Teufel's career began with the Twins, where he spent his first two-and-a-half seasons.  There's another onetime Minnesota player -- who also earned a ring playing in New York -- who shares Ringo's birthday: Chuck Knoblauch

On This Date in 1993

Rickey Henderson (then with the A's) becomes the first major leaguer in 80 years to lead off both ends of a doubleheader with a home run.  He connects off Cleveland's Paul Abbott in the opener, and Mark Clark in the nightcap at the Oakland Coliseum.  These also add to his already major league record total of 61 leadoff homers. By the time his Cooperstown-bound career ended, 81 of Henderson's 297 home runs came as the first batter of a game! ( My image of Rickey came from the Yankees 2015 Old Timers Day .)  

Postponed by Rain

Despite a 50/50 chance of rain, I was in Syracuse last night, hoping to catch the Junior Subway Series, as the AAA Mets hosted Scranton-Wilkes Barre, the Yankees top farm club.  But the wet won out and after waiting an hour after the scheduled first pitch, the game was postponed. While disappointed and damp, the Syracuse Mets also deserve credit for something soggy fans of major league clubs never receive in rain outs: a parking refund.  Along with the promise they could exchange their tickets for a future game, drivers leaving the stadium lot were handed vouchers for free parking to an upcoming game.  A very nice gesture: a "thank you" for coming to NBT Bank Stadium on a less-than-nice night, and the sense that you didn't waste your money hoping for an event that never took place.