Welcome to another edition of Chatter Up! on a busy week for the NL East. For each Divisional Match Up we ask 5 questions to affiliate bloggers concerning their respective team. This week we will be featuring questions concerning the four game weekend division Match Up between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals
Answering our questions concerning the New York Mets this time we have Eric King of TheRealDirtyMetsBlogâ€¦ Ironically all the questions to him, came from our Nats affiliate, CenterfieldGate who we will ask some things to later.
Q- CFG recently ran a piece which said that with Reyes the Mets could contend, but without him they’re sunk. So: is that true. Or, should the worst happen (and he has a history, after all, with a hamstring) can the Mets survive?
A- Reyes is for sure an important piece in the Mets puzzle. I am not sure there is one player that could completely sink the Mets chances just like there is not one player that the Mets could bring in and lock up a WS. As for history? What does his history with a hamstring have to do with back/oblique issues?
Q- What the biggest disappointment for Mets fans this year — and what’s the biggest surprise?
A- The biggest disappointment so far for the Mets fans would most likely be the inconsistency of Johan and the lack of run support regardless of his results.
Q- How did Mike Pelfrey get to be Mike Pelfrey. We haven’t seen this from him, but this year he’s been lights out. What happened?
A- I get to pat myself on the back for Pelfrey. I really thought last year was just that dreaded slump that happens to many young pitchers. This year he looks like the Pelfrey I expected him to be. Confident and yippless. Could be that his new pitch has given him that confidence.
Q- The trading deadline looms. The Mets are surely buyers. What do they need to buy?
A- SP, SP, SP a BP piece or two. I see no need for more offense. The bench when/if Beltran returns will be much better as well.
Q- What accounts for the resurgence in David Wright?
A- Resurgence of David Wright. LOL. Poor Wright, the guy has been one of the most solid hitters in baseball for his first 7 years. He has one slightly off year and everyone is ready to send him out to pasture. The guy is just a good hitter. Period.
Answering our questions concerning the Washington Nationals we have Mark Perry from the blog CenterfieldGate
Q- Strasburg, Strasburg, Strasburg…. Lets forget all the positives for a minute, have you seen anything from him so far that worries you or makes you question him?
Yeah, well. Strasburg, Strasburg, Strasburg. Frankly, even though I view myself as a diehard Nats fans, I worry that the attention given to St. Stephen is a distraction for our non-fans: for those who follow other teams and donâ€™t pay attention to what is going on at Nats Park. We have a solid, solid team (I know, not lately) and good players. The face of this franchise is not Stephen Strasburg, in my opinion, itâ€™s Ryan Zimmerman, who was here through thin and thin.
If I had to express a worry it is this: that he will not fit into the team. All the evidence, so far, is that he is doing just that, that heâ€™s mature and cares about wins and losses. But there is this nagging part of me that worries that he views the Nats as skim milk â€“ not the real deal. It will take a while, I think, for him to â€œgetâ€ whatâ€™s going on here: to understand that Nats fans are not just inheritors or a failed Montreal franchise, but celebrate the Nats as a continuation of a finer and older tradition that goes back to some of the first teams in the game. If Stephen gets that â€“ and you have to listen to how much Zimmerman and Dunn and Willingham love this franchise to really be convinced of it â€“ then heâ€™ll be an even greater pitcher than he is now.
One other thing, just to make this clear. I have seen every outing he has pitched. And you need to see him to believe it. In the first game, in the section where I was sitting, there were people in tears. You had to see him to believe it. Iâ€™ve seen hundreds of games and that game, and those strikeouts, are indelibly imprinted in my memory. Forever.
Q- What happened? Up until a few weeks ago, the Nats were very much in competition and showing what all Nats fans thought this team could be.
A- Defense, defense, defense. The Nats are last in defense. Again. Standard, minor league (and Little League) plays seem to elude them. The team is young, Ian Desmond is going to make mistakes, heâ€™s a rookie and (I believe) a future star. But there seems to be a disturbing lack of focus on the team during important in-game situations. This has to change, but it will take more than a stern lecture from Jim â€œglass half fullâ€ Riggleman. It will take time. In themeantime, we have to keep things in perspective. The goal for this year was to get better, not to win the World Series. That is what has happened; this team is competitive, fun to watch, and a reflection of the strength of the franchiseâ€™s front office. No one would have guessed that would be the case 12 months ago.
Q- Do you feel that Bryce Harper is as much of a lock as Strasburg was/is? He is still in his teenage years and so far has never faced anything but High School and Junior college pitching.
A- Yeah, actually, I do. Well, maybe not a lock, but as close to one as there can be. The only thing that would stop this guy is the mental part of the game, not an insignificant obstacle. I believe the reports of his â€œattitude,â€ but heâ€™s only 17. Actually, we all know this, but Iâ€™ll say it for the record. The only thing that distinguishes Bryce from me when I was 17 was that he can hit. If youâ€™re 17, you always have an attitude. But weâ€™ll see. The Nats will bring him along very slowly.
Q- This weekend aside, it seems that because of Strasburg mania, the Nationals are the #1 team in the DC area. Have games had a much different feel even on nights he isn’t pitching?
A- I wish you were right. I turn on Sports Radio here and I get (during one Strasburg outing) a group of guys talking about the Wizards (â€œthe Sports Reportersâ€) and the other talking about the meaning of fatherhood among NFL players. And the first group of reporters were talking about the NBA, and the Wizards, while broadcasting from Nats Park. Unbelievable. Nauseating. So I have to admit: this is a football town; people canâ€™t even see straight when it comes to the Washington Wachamacallits. But, that said, the people have turned out not only for Strasburg, but have turned out in increasing numbers for the other games as well. The team is getting rooted in this city in a way that it might not have if Strasburg were not here. One Yankee fan said to me: yeah, well, theyâ€™re only turning out because of Strasburg. My answer was, and is: okay, so tell you what. Go ahead and trade A Rod and Jeter and see how many people show up for your pathetic team. Weâ€™ll take it, celebrate it, and weâ€™ll be happy.
Q- Finally, as I noticed you wrote about predictions in your post this morning, besides the Mets, are any other team’s putting a potential hole in them? If so, do you feel as strongly about them as the Mets falling/gaining from their current position?
A- Well, this is the problem about making predictions in baseball. The game defeats everyone, especially amateur analysts. I said the White Sox would spiral into oblivion, it hasnâ€™t happened. I said the Phillies were the Yankees of the NL East and they have turned out to be the ah â€¦ well, the Blue Jays of the NL East. I said the Braves didnâ€™t have a prayer. Guess what? But some other things Iâ€™ve said have turned out pretty good â€“ and since you asked, Iâ€™ll brag. I said, two years ago, that Ubaldo Jimenez was on the verge of being a great pitcher. I was right. I said earlier this year that the Cubs need to sell, I was right. I said that the team to beat in the NL Central was the Cincinnati Reds. And I said that the Nats would finish above the Mets. Iâ€™ll stick by that one. But not for much longer.
And now Iâ€™ll ask myself a question: what has been the biggest surprise of this year for the Nats. And my answer will surprise some, but I think Iâ€™m right. Itâ€™s been Adam Dunn, and it has nothing to do with his bat. The guy can actually field his position. Heâ€™s been the rock, even more so than Zimmerman. Who would-a-thunk-it?