METS MOVE INTO FIRST PLACE!
Glen Allen (15-13 in June) moved ahead of Long Island to go into first place in the National League East Division. The Mets played .500 at the Yard but 8-6 in the A.L. East parks. Bullpen Coach John Stearns had this Quick analysis, "We only beat Minnesota once this month and we could not get them in our park. On the road, closer Bob Wickman saved five games and Wayne Gomes picked up three wins in eight games without allowing a run. For July we get Felix Heredia back in the pen after resting a tired arm last month."
Pitching Coach Jimmy Key showed confidence when talking about Barry Zito, "Not too bad for his first month: 2.38ERA 2CG 45 IP $$K 37 H and 4 homers allowed. Barry developed a blister on the tip of his middle finger, which affected his control that last start, so he'll go back to the minors for July, but I've already got him penciled into my rotation for August. Mark Gardner had some shoulder tightness so we will rest him for July. Joey Hamilton has been impressive in hi rehabilitation so he will join the rotation, but we will keep close watch on him and limit pitching to six innings. Lance Painter has also returned to the staff for the last half of this year. Eric Milton and Todd Ritchie have been solid, but I have concern with Steve Trachsel. He gave up 7 homers in 21 innings in four road games so we need Steve to pick it up if we are to win the division."
Bench Coach Buddy Harrelson noted that Vizquel did not make an error in June, but the other guys contributed eight in 14 road games. Our pitchers made one at home but none on the road. "We need great defense to win because we don't have big sluggers."
This reporter had a chance to speak with hitting Coach Eddie Kranepool. "It seemed like all the extra batting practice at home finally paid off on the road. We raised our team average seven points: Omar 22, Flaherty 19 Ryan 16 Brook 13. Colbrunn took over the team lead in RBI with 11 in 13 games and did not ground into a DP on the road. The team had 34 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR and scored 79 runs but struck out 88 times. I'd like to see the guys continue to improve with the warmer weather, but a few guys may need a little time off down the stretch.
GM Clark was asked about any impending trades, "I've talked to a few guys, but nothing on the burner right now. Contenders are looking to get your top guys like Lawton or Klesko for their stretch run. Other guys are offering their free agents for your prospects. I do not plan on sacrificing the future for the present, nor am I giving up my horses when we still have a chance to win our division. I have already picked up a couple extra draft picks and have no problem getting more. What about my #1 pick last year? Albert Pujols looks like a great hitter! He plays 1B, 3B, LF, RF, DH and much more power than I expected for a 21 year old. The scouting reports that I heard, he is for real, but his defense needs work. I do like the flexibility he will bring to the team and once we decide on a position, probably 3B his defense should improve. Tom Davey has been pitching well out of the pen and scout say he has closer potential with that hard stuff he throws. Adrian Hernandez has been doing well in the lower minors, but needs some more experience,"
The Manager had the responsibility to get the most out of his current players and the general Manager has to balance the present with the future. Since Glen Allen has one man doing double duty Clark will be busy not only with the daily chores of managing, but also the prospect and free agent watching of the GM.