Mets Sweep Royals! In June…

Final Score: Mets 4, Royals 3

The Only Injuries That Matter: I wanted to lead off on a positive note after a two game series sweep. I really did. But Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard are both being examined at the Hospital For Special Surgery right now. Cespedes left the game after the fifth inning with left wrist discomfort. I’m sure it’s just some poisonous spider bite that will lead to his wrist falling off. No big deal. And Thor left the game after battling through six mediocre innings with elbow discomfort. Yeah an elbow problem. Just like Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler had recently. Greaaaat. Now we wait and see if the season is over. Yo and Thor are the two best players on our team. They are the only injuries that matter. Pray.

On To The Game: Other than the potential season derailing injuries to Yo and Thor, the Mets finally won a series against the Royals. We beat the Royals in June. Perfect timing. Sure it’s a depleted Royals squad missing Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas, but injuries are not a valid excuse when you’re playing the Mets. This was a big series win after such a brutal weekend against the Braves. And the Mets were able to win both of these games without stellar starting pitching performances. First Bartolo went down with an injury yesterday, and today Noah Syndergaard struggled due to elbow discomfort. But he still battled through 6 innings, gave up 8 hits, and 3 runs. He only struck out 4 Royals. He blew two leads. He blew a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning when he gave up a solo shot to Cheslor Cuthbert. Then in that same inning he let the Royals take a 2-1 lead when Jarrod Dyson singled, Danny Duffy sacrificed him over to second base, and Whit Merrifield hit an RBI single. He blew the lead for the second time in the 6th inning when Salvador Perez doubled, and Paulo Orlando drove him in with an RBI single to make it 3-3. But the Mets were able to score enough to win and the bullpen pitched three scoreless innings. Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed were the bridge to Jeurys Familia.

Loney And The Soup Apologists: James Loney hit a two out RBI single in the fourth inning to make it 1-0. Loney’s line before the game was at .292/.338/.417. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about James Loney. I’ve even seen people arguing he’s not a real upgrade over Eric Campbell. I don’t care that it’s a small sample size. If you’re still saying he’s not an upgrade over Soup you’re wrong. I’m not saying he’s a star. I’m not saying he’s the answer at first base. But Jesus Christ he’s better than Soup.

Asdrubal Is Today’s MVP: I don’t know if he got the Michael Cuddyer belt, but Asdrubal Cabrera had quite a day. He scored on the James Loney single and had a nice slide at the plate. He hit a two run homer in the fifth inning to make it 3-2 and retake the lead for the Mets. He even made some nice plays at shortstop.

Reynolds In LF?: Terry played Matt Reynolds in left field for the first time in his career. Terry has no fear throwing a rookie with no experience in the outfield, but he won’t consider calling up Dilson Herrera and putting Neil Walker at third base? Kind of absurd. Oh by the way Matt Reynolds hit a solo home run in the 6th inning to make it 4-3 and that was the winning run for the Mets. Lucky Terry. He’s a genius.

Pitching Injury Update: Zack Wheeler got his elbow examined today after it flared up during his rehab. No word from the Mets on that yet. Thor also went to the hospital after the game for an elbow exam as I mentioned above. After getting rocked with a liner off his thumb, Bartolo is apparently fine and ready to make his next start this weekend. He’s indestructible.

Tomorrow: The Mets head to Atlanta for a four game set. They really need to make up for that horrendous sweep at Citi Field. Light your candles for Thor, Wheeler, and Cespedes. The season could be over if those MRIs don’t go our way.

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Mets Bullpen Beats Royals


Final Score: Mets 2, Royals 1

Wow the Mets finally won a close game against the Kansas City Royals that came down to the performance of our bullpen! Lolz.

Bartolo Thumb-backer: Bartolo Colon threw four pitches and was instantly injured by a comebacker that ricocheted off of the thumb on his pitching hand. Unbelievable. X-Rays were supposedly negative. Hopefully that extra layer of hand fat helped protect the bones/muscles from any actual injury.

Mets Pen Beats Royals Pen: Hansel Robles/Erik Goeddel/Jerry Blevins/Addison Reed/Jeurys Familia combined for 8.2 innings and only surrendered one run. Impressive effort from this unit. Robles threw 65 pitches over 3.2 innings. He threw like 40 pitches a couple days ago. I smell another reliever corpse. Speaking of dead relievers, Jim Henderson went on the DL. Terry killed him. RIP.

Dingers Only: In the bottom of the first inning, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo home run and in the bottom of the fourth inning Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo dinger to center field. That was the only offense for the Mets. Dingers only per usual. The Mets had six hits and only three opportunities with runners in scoring position tonight. Obviously they failed to take advantage of any of those chances, but they still won. I’ll take it. We stole this game. Also, check out how pathetic we are with runners in scoring position (prior to this game):

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Last place. As bad as it gets.

Plawecki Out, D’Arnaud In: Travis d’Arnaud made his return to the lineup tonight after his lengthy DL stint. Mr. Glass picked up right where he left off going 0 for 3 bringing his average to .184. Welcome back. Kevin Plawecki rightfully got demoted to Vegas after his horrendous stint filling in. Hopefully he puts things together and has an impact later this season.

Wheeler Setback: Zack Wheeler is on his way back to New York to have his elbow examined by team doctors after experiencing discomfort. It’s a setback. The Mets love setbacks. Setbacks are the key to ensuring injuries continue forever. Wheeler and Colon go down on the same day. Yeesh. Pray for Zack.

Tomorrow: The Mets have a day game with Noah Syndergaard on the mound tomorrow. Please sweep this two game set. We need wins so bad.

Gods and Kings: Thor Executes The Royals

 Final Score: Mets 2, Royals 0

Well it was World Series ring presentation day for the Royals. They had a ridiculous full orchestra on the field for the ceremony and handed out the jewelry in front of the entire Royal court. But it didn’t faze Noah Syndergaard in the least. Come game time he was an absolute machine. He was throwing 99 MPH consistently. Nasty slider, nasty hook, nasty sinker. He’s just #TeamNasty all day. Striking out any member of the Royals isn’t an easy task. But Thor’s heat is just a gamechanger. And he overcame some real challenges. He went on to strike out the side after a leadoff triple to start the game. In the 6th, the Mets missed two double play opportunities to get out of a jam, and ultimately the Royals loaded the bases with two outs. But Thor still got the strikeout of Kendrys Morales to end the inning. Jim Henderson and Addison Reed looked great as the bridge to Jeurys Familia. And then Familia came in and got some World Series redemption with an easy 1-2-3 9th inning for the save.

Neil Walker aka New Murphy aka Neil Walkyear had an awesome two run bomb in the 4th inning to give Thor the lead. That was all the Mets needed offensively. Walker also almost pulled a Murphy in the 9th with a little bobble on a routine ground ball. Luckily he’s not Murphy, and he regained his composure to make the play.

Yoenis Cespedes had a great spring, but in the first two games he’s still swinging at some crappy pitches. He hit a long foul ball late in the game that was almost a dinger. The home runs will come.

David Wright stole two bases in the game. Obviously David has been hearing all the talk about how he’s dunzo and decided to show us he’s still got something left in the tank. Or maybe he owns himself in his fantasy league, and he’s light on steals this week. I don’t know why he’s running, but I suggest he avoids any unnecessary movement going forward. We wouldn’t want to lose him prematurely.

Anyway, we got the split in KC. Awesome. Finally we are done with the Royals (Until June. Yes we play them again. Greaaaaaat). Now we move on to our cushy soft April schedule. Back home to play the piss poor Phillies. On to the rest of the NL Least. Thank God for our division.

Series Preview: Going Going, Back Back, To KC KC

Well the 2016 MLB season has finally arrived. We already got a preview of this opening series last November. It’s 2015 World Series rematch time. The scheduling gods somehow miraculously put this one on the calendar well before we even faced off for the championship. And then those same gods for some reason gave us only two games in the first five calendar days of the season really screwing up our rotation. God giveth, God taketh away.

Rumors leaked this week that despite winning the World Series and getting the ultimate revenge, the Royals are still upset with Noah Syndergaard for throwing up and in at Alcides Escobar to start off Game 3. Apparently, they plan to retaliate in the opening series. When asked about this, the Royals were pretty united in denying the rumor and emphasizing that they already got revenge when they won the championship. Ned Yost called the New York reporter who wrote it a “buffoon”.

Former Met Dillon Gee  who now plays for KC said, “That’s the New York media for you. I’ve been here all spring and I don’t think anyone has even brought up the Mets.” Ooh really Dillon? Nobody asked you all spring what team you came from? They probably assumed you wouldn’t make the opening day roster.

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: It’ll be Matt Harvey vs. Edinson Volquez in game 1. Let’s see if Matt Harvey looks like himself on Opening Day. I know everyone has joked about it, but the guy had a real medical issue this week. He was scared. He was weak for a few days. Harvey had his typical nasty fastball and command this spring, but it always takes some time for pitchers to get into shape in the early part of the season. I’m sure the Mets will be closely monitoring his performance considering he’s been pissing blood all week.

When they both played for the Reds, I always thought of Volquez as Scrappy Doo and Johnny Cueto as Scooby Doo. A lil sidekick with a similar delivery and comparable stuff but in a big moment, it was obvious who was the number one dog. I think that dynamic was clear in the World Series as Cueto outshined all of the Royals starting pitchers with his Game 2 performance. Well now Volquez gets the Opening Day nod for the world champion Royals, and Cueto is on the Giants. Some of the current Mets have good career numbers against Volquez. Asdrubal Cabrera has 4 hits in 13 ABs including a home run. Juan Lagares has 3 hits in 8 ABs. However, David Wright is 2 for 13 and Neil Walker is 3 for 17. So clearly mixed results against Volquez historically. Hopefully we can get something going early against him.

Game 2: Thor was originally supposed to face off against new arrival Ian Kennedy in game 2. Kennedy is a classic doofy ginger that eats innings for a living. However, he tweaked his hammy in his last spring start. So now former Met Chris Young gets the nod. Chris Young has had so many reconstructive shoulder surgeries, they should name the procedure after him. But he’s still managed to overcome his injury problems and be effective at the major league level. The Royals signed him this offseason to a two year deal. The Mets don’t have a lot of career ABs against him, but he’s a middle of the rotation flyball pitcher. We have Thor. We should win 99 out of 100 times. And we’re playing in the AL park, so Thor should be able to be nice and aggressive on the mound and keep the stupid Royals from getting too comfortable in the box.

Things To Look For:

World Series Ceremonies: The Royals are doing all their World Series ceremonies during the opening series. They are going to hurt. Don’t look away. Soak it in. Watch it. Let it burn your eyes. Let it drive us this season as fans. Keep us focused. The Royals said they have a 30 second video clip honoring the Mets or something. I’m sure it’s just going to be the clip of Duda overthrowing d’Arnaud at home plate in Game 5 on a loop for 30 seconds.

Fight Club: The Royals may have denied the retaliation rumors, but they got into fights and brawls many times last season. It’s the reason everyone laughed in their face when they complained during the World Series about Thor’s pitch. The Royals are classless dicks, and they love to fight. Ned Yost almost fought the reporters for even mentioning the idea that they wanted to retaliate.

I mean Jesus, look at these MLB file photos of Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Kelvin Herrera, and Luke Hochevar. They look like mugshots of four guys who robbed the local convenience store, beat the hell out of the clerk and his son, and then jumped in their pickup truck firing their guns in the air as they fled from the scene.

With ESPN We All Lose: We lost the World Series. But now the Mets are so mainstream. And as a result, we get to be on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. We are all going to have to suffer through their awful broadcast. Despite his retirement, Jon Miller saying “Carlos Beltrán” on a loop still haunts my nightmares. I would give anything to watch this game on SNY with Gary, Keith, and Ron doing the broadcast. But baseball is finally back. So I will make do.

My Best Guess: Predicting the 2016 MLB Playoffs and Player Awards

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Major League Baseball has such parity. Sure we can probably narrow down the field of competition to around 15 teams before the season even starts. Roughly half the league is actually competing for a championship. But that’s a hell of a lot better than the annual three team dance in the NFL or the one team in the NBA that has a chance to win (I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with Olden Plate Warriors). Jayson Stark from ESPN (and Winterfell) writes a brilliant annual column showing how the parity in MLB compares to that of the NFL. It really gives you an idea of how even the MLB playing field is, and how hard it is to predict the outcome of the season. Honestly, if you want the real crystal ball just look at the Vegas lines. Vegas knows better than me or any of the other baseball writers. That being said, if you want some of my magic insight, here are my playoff and player award predictions for 2016:

The Metssiah’s Player Award Predictions:

AL MVP: Manny Machado. Yeah I didn’t pick Mike Trout. I’m crazy!! Machado had a breakout season last year, he’s young, and he’s part of a beastly lineup. Plus my scouts (google images) say Machado’s head looks enormous this spring. Maybe he’s been getting his swoll on this offseason. I’m no phrenology expert, but big head equals big season.

AL Cy Young: Chris Archer

AL Rookie of the Year: Byron Buxton

NL MVP: Bryce Harper. Again. That being said, Yoenis Cespedes is going off at 25 to 1 in Vegas for MVP. I like that sweet action.

NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer. Yeah I’m betting against my boys, but I’ll say Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard finish 2, 3 and 4 respectively so I feel better about the betrayal.

NL Rookie of the Year: Corey Seager. But Steven Matz will probably be in the conversation.

 

The Metssiah’s American League Playoff Predictions:

WC Game: Rangers over Blue Jays

ALDS: Royals over Rangers and Astros over Yankees

ALCS: Astros over Royals

 

The Metssiah’s National League Playoff Predictions

WC Game: Nationals over Pirates

NLDS: Cubs over Nationals and Mets over Giants

NLCS: Mets over Cubs

 

World Series Prediction: Mets over Astros

 

Also, for my previously published divisional predictions see these posts:

American League East

American League Central

American League West

National League East

National League Central

National League West

My Best Guess: Predicting the 2016 American League Central

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(This is one post in a series of posts where I will be predicting the outcome of each MLB division. The final post will include full 2016 MLB postseason predictions.)

The 2014 Royals lost in the World Series to the Giants, but they brought back roughly the same team in 2015. The robot projection computers have disliked the Royals the last three seasons. They disliked them before their 2014 World Series appearance. They picked against them in the spring of 2015. For some reason, the robots are still picking against them in 2016. Jesse Spector wrote a great article attempting to explain why this is the case. Although the robots are self-aware, they don’t yet know how to love, and they clearly don’t know how to detect the Royals “it factor”. It seems resilience, determination, and experience “Do not compute”. I think despite the skepticism of the robots, most experts predicted they would make the playoffs in 2015 by winning the AL Central. Then of course, we saw that they didn’t just make the playoffs. They got back to the World Series and won it all. Despite all their spending, the Tigers struggled with injuries and bad luck in 2015. The Indians have a young pitching staff that rivals the Mets staff, but they are lacking in the offensive department. The White Sox spent a bunch of money on free agents prior to 2015, but their season turned out to be a mess. The Twins didn’t spend anything per usual and were mediocre. Here’s what I see in 2016:

AL Central: 1) Kansas City Royals (x) 2) Detroit Tigers 3) Cleveland Indians 4) Chicago White Sox 5) Minnesota Twins

You can’t bet against Kansas City. They are young, they just won the World Series, and they have repeat potential. I know they lost Ben Zobrist. I know they lost Johnny Cueto. But Ian Kennedy can eat innings, and they were never wowing anyone with their rotation anyway. They have the same pesky grind it out offense, and an even better pen with Joakim Soria back in the fold. They’ll take the division again. 

Detroit sucked last year. But they had injuries, an awful bullpen, and bad luck. I like what Jordan Zimmerman and Justin Upton do for their rotation and lineup respectively. Cameron Maybin had a career year in 2015. Maybe he figured something out. Francisco Rodriguez can still finish games with the best of them which will help their pen which was dogshit last season. I see them getting more production from Victor Martinez this year. And my boy Michael Fulmer is going to come up and have an impact in their rotation or bullpen. The Mets have been breeding strong arms, and this guy is supposedly the real deal. That being said, the Tigers will be behind the other Wild Card teams and miss the playoffs. 

Cleveland has that deadly rotation with Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and Carlos Carrasco. A sort of Mets lite rotation. But they didn’t fix their problems on offense in my opinion, and Michael Brantley could be out for a stretch to start the season due to offseason shoulder surgery. I suppose they did add former Mets Juan “Hog Show” Uribe and Marlon “Biogenesis” Byrdman. But they needed a big bat. They pulled a Mets 2014/2015 in the offseason. We added old deteriorating Michael Cuddyer last offseason, when we really needed an actual big bat. Then we got Yoenis Cespedes midseason. Maybe they will do the same thing and have a big second half.

The White Sox are completely out. Sell sell sell! They are going to blow it all up midseason. White Sox Executive Vice President Ken Williams better pick up a copy of Windy Shitty: Theo Epstein’s Guide to Tanking in Chicago. They had a mediocre pitching staff last season and big time problems on offense. And a roll of Todd Frazier duct tape mixed with some Brett Lawrie crazy glue ain’t gonna patch the holes in this sinking ship. Plus DH Adam LaRoche just pulled a Michael Cuddyer by surprise retiring with money still on his contract. No matter how quickly they patch them holes they just keep opening up. Maybe they will spend that extra LaRoche money on another big bat to keep patching their crummy lineup. But I think it’s more likely they are posting a “Chris Sale for Sale” sign at the trade deadline. Book it.

Minnesota was .500 last season. They supposedly had an extremely “lucky” season by all advanced metrics and standards, and it still wasn’t good. They added a first basemen from Korea Byung-ho Park but not much else. I don’t expect much from them.

Other Divisional Predictions:

American League East

Weekly Roundup: Takeout Slides, Chipper Predictions, and Prayers for Maverick

MLB/Union Closer to 2B Takeout Slide Rule Change: I ranted in a January 27th post about how the league still hasn’t done a damn thing to rectify the 2B takeout slide problem. Well it seems they heard my complaining. Now that Ruben Tejada has finally shed his walking boot and Jung Ho Kang is making big strides in his daily physical therapy, the league has finally made some alleged progress. Heck, according to Buster Olney’s report, the Union and MLB claim they may make real changes before the season begins. Olney said they want to make sure runners “touch the base or make an effort to touch the base”. The planned rule change is meant to “improve safety” while maintaining “players’ aggressiveness”. In addition, they are still debating whether slides in question can be reviewed by instant replay.

So to recap, the current 2B slide rule essentially says the runner should be close enough to touch the base. The proposed new rule would say the runner must attempt to touch the base, and it wouldn’t discourage aggressive slides. I can really see the differences in the rules. Sounds like a groundbreaking reform that will really change the sport. And of course they don’t want umpires to be able to review these types of slides because it may slow down the games. This is going to go well. I will reserve judgement until the final rule is published but needless to say I’m skeptical. If it goes anything like when they changed the home plate collision rules, we are in for a long season full of confused players, managers, and umpires.

Chipper Predictions: Chipper Jones in a radio interview this week said the Mets are his early season favorite to win the World Series. Larry is really something else. From the Mets archrival to the team’s biggest booster. After the Chase Utley takeout slide he came out and ripped Chase a new one. Now he’s endorsing the Mets as future 2016 World Champions? And it’s not like he’s unemployed and endorsing the Mets from his couch. He literally works for the Braves. He just got hired as a special assistant.

He’s got to be working an angle. Still trolling us after all those years of crushing the franchise. It started with him naming his kid Shea. Now he’s taking it up a notch by pretending to be our biggest fan. I completely understand why Chipper would love our team. It’s designed exactly like his 90s Braves squad. A potential juggernaut built around young pitching. However, I think Chipper’s “love affair” with the pitching rich Mets is kind of like Eli Manning’s “love” for his brother Peyton. Right now, Chipper has the championship swag like Eli did before last week’s Super Bowl. So he’s “rooting” for the Mets like Eli was “rooting” for Peyton. The Mets are just a similarly designed team with aspirations to be as successful as the 90s Braves. We want to win 14 consecutive division titles like the Braves did between 1991 and 2005. We want to advance to the World Series 5 times like they did in the 90s. But the second we win one lone championship like Chipper did with the 1995 Braves, his cheerleader routine will stop. If we ever found a way to win two, Chipper could have twins named Citifield and Shake Shack, and he still wouldn’t get his championship mojo back.

Pray for Maverick (and Wright): Sandy Alderson conducted an interview with Steve Serby of the NY Post. First off, in the interview Sandy talked about how he was diagnosed with cancer four days after the Mets clinched the NL East last season, and he is still undergoing chemotherapy. The guy is a front office legend and clearly tough as hell. I hope the Wilpons actually give him some time off this season so he can recover instead of making him face the relentless media day in and day out. But it’s more likely the Wilpons remain in the panic room they had built in 2008 after Madoff was arrested and just let their lackey John Ricco deal with the press. Either way, pray for Sandy.

And while we are at it, pray for David Wright. Sandy said he hopes David and his titanium spine can play 130 games next season. Honestly, I will take anything we can get from David. 100 games would work for me. Quite frankly, we’d be better off keeping Wright cryogenically frozen until 2017 when the NL institutes the DH so he can take that job full time. Although considering our trainer Ray Ramirez can barely administer an X-Ray, I’m not sure I’d trust him to handle the freezing procedure.

Two New Cubans: This week, two new Cubans defected from the motherland. 31 year old 3B Yulieski Gourriel and 22 year old SS/OF Lourdes Gourriel Jr. were supposedly two of the top players remaining in Cuba. Are they brothers? Noooooo…….Yes!!!!

These two brothers are expected to be impact players in the major leagues. Pretty much like every Cuban player that has defected to date. The older brother Yulieski is supposed to have an immediate impact while the younger brother may need some minor league seasoning. It’s hard to complain about the Mets lack of interest in Cuban players considering we just signed the best one in the business. That being said, John Ricco should have a welcome party on standby in Florida, and we should be signing every Cuban player that comes ashore. Especially a Cuban star that plays 3B considering Wright is our biggest question mark. But I’m sure he’ll just wind up a Yankee as they are one of the teams rumored to have interest.

Clippard Departs, Mejia Promptly Banned: I wrote earlier this week about the departure of Tyler Clippard for a 2 year deal in Arizona. And of course, four days later Jenrry Mejia is promptly banned from the game for life due to a third positive PED test. Mejia getting banned for life makes too much sense. Things were too quiet in Mets land. It was inevitable that the first bad thing of 2016 was going to happen. I also think it’s hilarious that at the trade deadline we acquired Clippard and immediately afterwards Mejia received his second steroid suspension. And now once again, Clippard’s move and Mejia’s suspension happen simultaneously.

Mejia wasn’t part of the team last year, and we replaced Clippard with Antonio Bastardo, so I suppose our pen will be fine. But it still isn’t good that two relief options for 2016 have evaporated in one week. And speaking of Bastardo, he has to be next on the Mets steroid watch list right? He’s been suspended before, and it wouldn’t shock me at all to see our primary set up man go down for a second time.

Royals Plan Two World Series Celebrations: The Royals announced this week that they plan to have a World Series celebration in both games against the Mets to start the season. Banner raising the first game and then ring presentations on night two. Really just rubbing our faces in it. Well that’s just perfect. At least this doubles the chances for former Royals Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto to catch the ceremonies on TV. But in all seriousness, screw the Royals. I hope this fires the Mets up and helps them keep their eyes on the ultimate prize.

Minor League Notes: This week the Mets signed Roger Bernadina to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training. He may play all 3 outfield positions but he’ll never fill the void left by Triple A Vegas legend Kirk “3 Dingers” Nieuwenhuis.

Also, the Texas Rangers have officially signed former Met Ike Davis to a minor league deal. Oh how the mighty have fallen. From first round pick to Quadruple-A All-Star. I’m not sure how smart it was for him to take the deal considering Texas is just over an hour flight from Arizona where he contracted his Valley Fever. Although I suppose he had no real choice. Maybe another fresh start will finally cure him of the Valley Fever aka Mets disease. Nothing worked for Jason Bay, but perhaps there’s still hope for Ike. Not bloody likely.