Sunday, June 10, 2007

Five Good Questions with . . . Adam Rubin of the N.Y. Daily News about the New York Mets

Today's "Five Good Questions" is with Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News....Adam has been covering the New York Mets since 2003 and was gracious enough to give us a few minutes of his time.....he is the author of the book "Pedro, Carlos and Omar: The Story of a Season in the Big Apple and the Pursuit of Baseball's Top Latino Stars."....

Q1. Going into the season, starting pitching was a big question for the Mets. However, the staff has been solid. What does the staff have to do in order to hold up all season and into the post-season?
Really, just stay healthy. Orlando Hernandez already has been to the DL once, and Mets fans will remember him coming up lame on the eve of last year's division series with a strained calf muscle. The Mets should receive a jolt when Pedro Martinez returns, which is projected to be sometime in August. He just threw off a mound June 5 for the first time since rotator cuff surgery. Jorge Sosa has done a solid job with that rotation slot in the interim.

Q2. A few years ago Oliver Perez pitched some dynamite ball for the Pirates but had problems the last two years and was even in the minors at one point last season. What have the Mets done to revive his career?
Really, pitching coach Rick Peterson has done wonders with Perez psychologically more so than mechanically. Perez was so confused with the Pirates, his velocity declined to the upper-80s because he was fighting himself on the mound while thinking too much. Also, he's not as prone to combusting when bad things happen. Those high-walk games look like a thing of the past as a result.

Q3. What is the latest on Lastings Milledge? Does he have a place with the Mets this season or do you see him being traded during the season? Also, it was reported last season that Milledge had a bit of an attitude - has that changed?
As far as on-field stuff, Milledge has a sprained foot ligament that's kept him out for about a month. He has the boot he was wearing, but is still probably a couple of weeks away from returning to competitive action. Off the field, Milledge did a great job rehabilitating his image with teammates and outside observers during spring training. I'm afraid he lost some of that when word of his rap project with explicit lyrics came out last month. The Mets aren't going to give him away, but it's not too hard to project that Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez are the Mets' corner outfielders of the future, and that Milledge eventually figures to wind up with another organization.

Q4. What areas must the Mets improve upon during the season? Who are some hot names they may try to acquire during the season?
Bullpen help would be the key, though Guillermo Mota's recent return from a 50-game steroid suspension should provide a boost. It would be easy to throw out names such as the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano, but I'm not sure the cost would make sense for a rental player, especially if Martinez shows he can resume his late 1990s form like he predicts.

Q5. How would you compare this year's Mets team with last season's? After losing Game 7 of the NLCS, has that experience made this team mentally stronger?
The Mets are just as determined, if not more. The teams are fairly comparable, with the exception of the late-inning roles leading up to Billy Wagner. Aaron Heilman had Duaner Sanchez as an eighth-inning tag-team partner early last year, then Mota later. Mota may reassume that role. Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano have done nice jobs, too, to provide an alternative as Heilman struggles to match his success from last year.

Q5a. One extra question I have to ask, what is your opinion about Barry Bonds and "The Record"?
It's hard to celebrate something you believe may be tainted. Hopefully by the time Bonds is eligible for Hall of Fame election we'll be more informed.

I want to thank Adam for his is much for a few interesting links....
The Cavs are in a familiar position, but the Plain Dealer's Bill Livingston writes that they need a new plan if they want to win four of the next five games...

  • Bill Livingston

  • San Antonio Express-News columnist Buck harvey writes about Robert Horry...he didn't need to hit a last second shot, but his all-around effort helped the Spurs go up 2-0....
  • Buck Harvey

  • Angry fans flood HBO site after many are disappointed with Sopranos ending...
  • Deadline Hollywood

  • Before Mel Kiper there was BLESTO scouting based out of Pittsburgh...after 44 years, the scouting office of two people has closed its doors in the Steel City...Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports columnist writes about the old scouting service...
  • Ed Bouchette
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