Hope is the best of things – June 10

Blackhawks win first Stanley Cup since 1961

Before we get to the Mets, I want to first congratulate the Chicago Blackhawks who last night defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals to win the cup for the first time in 49 years.  Patrick Kane became the 16th player to clinch the cup on an OT goal.

The only team that had a longer historic cup drought than the Blackhawks, was the Rangers who had gone 54 years without winning the cup from 1940-1994.  Jonathon Toews takes home the Conn-Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP.  At 22 years and 41 days, Toews is the 2nd youngest player to win the trophy, trailing only Patrick Roy in 1986.

Most Seasons Without Winning Stanley Cup – Active Streaks

Maple Leafs      42        last won in 1966-67

Blues                  42        never won

Kings                  42        never won

The Blackhawks finally ended the Stanley Cup drought with their win last night.

Mets to play day-night doubleheader today

Since last night’s game was rained out, the Mets will host a separate admission doubleheader today with the Padres.    This is the second doubleheader the Mets will play this season, as earlier this season the swept the Dodgers at Citifield, but that was an old-fashioned Twi-Night Doubleheader.

This will be the Mets 33rd doubleheader since 2000.  This will be their 22nd DH played at home.  The Mets have not lost a DH at home since June 8, 2003 when they lost both games to the Seattle Mariners by a combined score of 20-1.

From August 3, 2002 to June 27, 2004 the Mets played in nine DH, six of which were at home, two were on the road and one was a split venue DH.  During that span the Mets went 0-7-2 in DH, including 0-5-1 at home.  Since then, they are 4-2-12 in DH.

Mets in doubleheaders since 2000

Played in     32 (21 at home, 8 on road)>>

Won               7  (5 at home, 2 on road)

Lost              10 (5 at home, 3 on road)

Split              15 (11 at home, 3 on road)

>>Played 3 multi-venue DH since 2000 going 0-2-1 in them (all vs NYY)

Johan Santana will go for the Mets in Game 1, while Jon Niese will take the mound in Game 2.  For Santana, he has been absolutely brilliant in his last 5 starts, going 1-0 with a 0.74 ERA, but the Mets have lost 4 of those 5 starts because they have only totaled 10 runs in those 5 games.   For his career, Santana is 2-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 6 starts vs San Diego.

Despite posting a 0.74 ERA in his last 5 starts, Santana has only one win as the Mets have only scored 10 total runs in those starts.

Johan Santana – Last 5 starts

W-L    1-0

ERA    0.74

K/BB  22/13

WHIP  1.04

>>Mets have lost 4 of 5 starts

For the Padres, Mat Latos will start against Santana.  Latos has been excellent as well lately, going 4-2 with a 1.96 ERA in his last 7 starts.  Latos won his only previous start vs the Mets on August 8, 2009 at San Diego.  Jon Garland will go for the Padres in Game 2.

Mat Latos takes on Johan Santana in Game 1 today. Latos won his only previous start vs the Mets.

David Wright has been right on lately

David Wright is enjoying his best stretch of the season.  After going 2-4 in the Mets win on Monday night, Wright now has six multi-hit games in his last 8 games.  Overall Wright is batting .517 over the stretch with 8 runs scored and 6 RBI.  Perhaps what is the most impressive thing about Wright’s recent stretch is that he has cut down on his strikeouts drastically.  Over this 8-game stretch, Wright has struck out just 4 times in 29 AB.  His current streak of 14 AB without a strikeout is easily his longest streak of the season.

David Wright – Last 8 games

H-AB                      15-29

BA                            .517

Runs                           8

RBI                             6

Multi-hit Games       6

Strikeouts                  4>

>Has not struck out in a season-high 14 straight AB

Mets fans are smiling along with David Wright with his outstanding recent play.

Generation K – Revisited

With the much hyped debut of Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, it got me thinking the last time the Mets faithful were really excited about a young prospect coming up to the majors.  Mike Pelfrey, Octavio Dotel, Alay Soler, Grant Roberts, Tyler Yates, Brian Bannister and Phil Humber all come to mind, but none of them really got people excited.  In 1996 the Mets had not one, not two, but THREE big-time pitchers who were supposed to be the Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux of the next 15 years.

The trio of Wilson, Pulsipher and Isringhausen had Mets fans thinking of a dynasty.

First to arrive on the scene was Pulsipher who made his MLB debut on June 17, 2005. Pulse finished the rest of the season with the Mets, going 5-7 with a 3.98 ERA in his 17 starts.  Next to arrive was Jason Isringhausen on July 17, 2005.  Izzy also finished the season with the Mets, going 9-2 in 14 starts with a 2.81 ERA.  The Mets themselves went from buried in last place with a 25-44 record at the All-Star break, to finishing with the majors second best record in the second half, going 44-31 and rallying the team to a second place finish.  Beyond the strong finish, you could see the raw potential in both Pulse and Izzy.  Pulse was very confident, challenging batters with his fastball and not afraid to come inside.  Izzy had a devastating knuckle-curve along with a blazing fastball.

Perhaps the most exciting thing Mets fans looked forward to was that Paul Wilson, who was the first overall pick in the 1994 draft, was ready to take his spot in the rotation for the 1996 season.  Wilson dominated the minors in 1995, going 11-6 with a 2.41 ERA in 26 starts with 194 K in 186 IP.

Paul Wilson making one of his 12 career starts at Shea Stadium, a place where he was supposed to be the next great Mets starter.

The hype surrounding these three entering the 1996 season was unreal.  “Generation K” as they were dubbed, were being thrown on magazine covers and TV spots.  I had a joke I told that offseason to my friends that went “Name 2 reasons why Paul Wilson won’t win the Cy Young Award this season”.  People would not know what to say, so I would chime in “Jason Isringhausen or Bill Pulsipher will win it instead.”

I remember reading an article early in spring training that year where one of the writers said he heard what sounded like gunshots coming from the Mets bullpen.  When he got there he realized it was the sound of Paul Wilson’s fastball hitting the catcher’s mitt. WOW!!! I was pumped!

However, as usual with things that are too good to be true, the first sign of bad things to come was the lefty in the crew, Bill Pulsipher, injured his elbow in spring training. The Mets were never crazy about Pulse’s wild delivery and were trying to get him to become more fluid.  Who knows what that did to his head or his body, all I know is that he was out for the season with a torn ligament that required Tommy John surgery.

Pulse spent the next few seasons bouncing around the minors as he was unable to get command back of his pitches.  His walks totals were very high and he had lost velocity on his fastball.  Pulse was so distraught he began suffering from major depression and wound up on Prozac.  He made it back to the Mets in 1998, but Bobby Valentine had lost all confidence him and he posted a 6.91 ERA in his 15 appearances. He was traded to the Brewers at the trading deadline in 1998.

Pulse made it back to the Mets in 2000 when the Brewers traded him back, but he was awful allowing 12 hits and 9 ER in his 2 starts.  He then wandered around the Independent Leagues before making a brief return to the majors with the Cardinals in 2005, but pitched poorly and was released in September of that season.

After suffering a torn ligament in his elbow in the spring of 1996, Pulse was never the same.

Things still were looking up for the Mets as they still had Isringhausen and Wilson to carry them into the season.  Opening Day 1996 started great for the Mets as they rallied from down 6-0 to defeat the Cardinals, 7-6.

Two days later, Izzy made his first start of the season and gave little reason for concern as he held the Cardinals to 3 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings and got a ND in a game the Mets lost.   The next day on April 4, Paul Wilson made his debut for the Mets and threw 6 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits. Wilson departed with a 8-3 lead and was on track for his first major league win.

However, the Mets bullpen (1996 would be one of the WORST in team history) of Doug Henry, Blas Minor, Bob Macdonald and John Franco allowed 6 total runs in the 8th and 9th innings to give the Cardinals the lead and cost Wilson his win.  However, the Mets rallied with 2 outs in the 9th to beat Dennis Eckersley and post their 2nd come-from-behind win in 1996.

Wilson and Izzy had their good moments in 1996, but overall they were a huge disappointment.  For the season Wilson posted a 5-12 rec0rd with a woeful 5.38 ERA in 26 starts, while Izzy went 6-14 with a 4.77 ERA in 27 starts.  The 1996 season was the last season these two got to pitch together.  Surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right (pitching) shoulder cost Wilson most of 1997 and ’98.

After joining the Mets and pitching well in spring training in 1999, Wilson learned he had torn a ligament in his right elbow.  When he returned to the Mets minors in 2000, Wilson was barely reaching 90 on the radar gone.  Gone was the explosion in his fastball and slider.  The Mets traded him to the Rays at the trading deadline in 2000.

The Mets traded Paul Wilson to the Rays at the deadline in 2000 along with Jason Tyner for Bubba Trammell and Rick White.

For Izzy, he had arthroscopic surgery on his elbow and shoulder at the end of the 1996 season.  Not sensing he was fully recovered yet, the Mets demoted him to the minors to start the 1997 season.  After a poor first inning in his first minor league start, Izzy took it out on a trash can, and fractured his wrist, putting him out 6-8 weeks.

Later that season, Izzy was diagnosed with tuberculosis.  He finally made his debut in late August, but posted a 7.58 ERA in 6 starts to finish the season.  While pitching in winter ball in the offseason, Izzy tore a ligament in his right elbow, causing him to miss the entire 1998 season.

When he returned to the Mets in 1999, Izzy was used mostly out of the bullpen as he made just 5 starts in 13 appearances going 1-3 with a 6.41 ERA.  He was then traded to the A’s for Billy Taylor, where he went on to be a top-notch closer for the rest of his career.  As for Billy Taylor, he finished the 1999 season with a 8.10 ERA in 18 appearances with the Mets.

Jason Isringhausen went on to be a top closer with the A's and Cardinals before his career ended in 2009.

So, that’s the sad story of Generation K.  So much promise, so little return (at least with the Mets).  Together the three appeared in 120 games for the Mets, making 98 starts.  They finished with a combined record of 28-42 with a 4.82 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 630.1 innings pitched.

Generation K totals with Mets

Games          120

Starts              98

W-L              28-42

ERA               4.82

WHIP            1.51

IP                   630.1

K/BB             435/275

Help Fund for Cancer Survivors

I might as well use this blog to educate people that cancer survivors out there need your help.  Many of us (myself included) have suffered awful side effects from the chemotherapy and radiation.  As a result of my treatment, I now suffer from Hemochromotosis, Crohn’s Disease and Lymphedema.  I had to retire in April 2008 after being diagnosed with Hemochromotosis. Disability payments are not NEARLY enough to live on an many of us in situations like mine need help.  PLEASE help me by donating to a fund to start a foundation for cancer survivors.  If you want more information or are looking want to become involved, check out our facebook page or email me.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Help-Start-a-Foundation-or-Fund-for-Cancer-Survivors/108359165870155?ref=ts

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About Mark Kelly - CKMagicSports

Sports Historian that is well versed at the four major sports first, then College Hoops, Football, Olympics, Tennis, Golf and NASCAR. Former ESPN Researcher in Bristol, CT. After a 10-year career working in everything from SportsCenter to ESPNNEWS to Cold Pizza. Had to retire due to complications from Cancer treatment. I am a now 25-year survivor that still suffers everyday from the side effects of chemotherapy & radiation. Suffer from Crohn's disease and Lymphedema everyday and started a website called CKMagicSports.com that I do podcasts on that you can help support by clicking on KNOCKOUTCANCER link on my CKMagicSports website. https://www.gofundme.com/KOCANCER Read more about my 25-year battle with the disgusting side effects of this disease here. http://www.ckmagicsports.com/marks-story/
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