April 13.10: A troubled team heads on the road.

It wasn’t too long ago that it was March and the Mets were telling everybody who was asking that spring training records and statistics mean nothing.

Well, the games and numbers count now, and the Mets are 2-4, losing consecutive series to the Marlins and Nationals, teams they should at least be beating at home.

Pitching will decide this season and already the winter concerns resurfaced during the first week. Mike Pelfrey pitched better, but he’s had moments like that before and then regressed. For Pelfrey to be lit up in his next start, Thursday night in Colorado, wouldn’t be a surprise.

John Maine did not pitch well in his first start and neither did Oliver Perez. While Maine goes tonight against the Rockies, look for the Mets to skip Perez to keep Johan Santana on regular rest.

Jon Niese was strong in his start, but still lost – primarily because the offense is still in Port St. Lucie – and Santana has had both a good and bad outing.

The pitching has not been good with an average of just under five a game. Everybody has been wild and no starter has made it past the sixth inning, and everybody save Pelfrey has an ERA over 4.50.

Is there help on the horizon? Nope, and let’s not even think about trading for Cincinnati’s Aaron Harang, who is due $25 million over the next two years. Despite the talk on the call-in shows, Bronson Arroyo is not available.

Let’s face it, any pitcher of substance would, 1) be not be offered, and 2) if he were would cost a lot in prospects.

Help, quality help, isn’t coming. These guys have to pick it up for themselves.

If they don’t the bullpen will be quick to fall.

Without the bullpen, the Mets are 1-5 and there would be more wailing than wondering. Even so, a trend of recent seasons has returned, and that is an over reliance on the pen. At this rate, before you know it, the innings will have piled up and we’ll be talking about the holes in the bullpen.

Fernando Nieve has the hot arm and he’s been in four of six games already. With how Jerry Manuel has used the pen before, it won’t be long before Nieve is burned out.

Some of the pitching problems would be offset if the team was hitting, but it is third worst in the National League at .245, and .189 with runners in scoring position.

All of the losses can be traced to their inability to hit with runners in scoring position.

It’s too early to panic, but not too early to recognize a trend and how the Mets aren’t headed on a good path.

And, that path takes them into Colorado and St. Louis this week, two of the more difficult venues to play in the National League. Those aren’t places where a team gets well.

13 thoughts on “April 13.10: A troubled team heads on the road.

  1. I know it’s only 6 games, but you have to be at least a little concerned about Francouer’s and Manuel’s statements from the other day. If the Mets go 1 and 5 on this trip and come back to Citi 3 and 9, it will not only be a morgue there, but the boos will be extremely audible. They need to turn this around and fast. 3 and 3 is acceptable. Anything less than that is not. I’m actually not that worried about the team hitting with RISP as they have been at the top of the league the last few years. It’s the hitting period that I am worried about.

  2. JD
    It may actually not be to early to panic.
    Steve T.O. hit the mark, 3-3 is acceptable.
    It would not surprise me if anything less could get Jerry the ax by next Monday.

  3. john

    nice cartoon and very apropos.

    there is not much to say about your post other than the offseason is meant to fix your holes. We got the slugger, we did not get the pitching.

    you make your bed and all that.

    as for help, there are people in the minots who can help. none that are sure fire, and none that can help today. next year maybe or a few years after that.

  4. (3) Dave, let’s take a look at the pitchers who the Mets could have seriously gotten. Small sample size of course since the season just began:

    Marquis: 0 and 2 12.96 ERA
    Piniero: 0 and 1 4.50 ERA
    Garland: 0 and 2 5.40 ERA
    Davis: 0 and 1 12.27 ERA

    Lackey has one start of 6 shutout innings

  5. I just wanted to add that it may be drastic to fire Jerry if this road trip is bad but the Mets are coming back to play a 10 game homestand.
    The fans could become very mean or what would be worse they just do not show up.

    I really hope this does not happen but it would not be a big surprise.

  6. steve

    thanks for the stats. i do not know how things will pan out. i like niese. he did well last yr before he got hurt. but he did get hurt. ollie is ollie , maine is eternally inconsistent and pelf so far has not put it together.

    so coming into this year how much faith do you have in our rotation?

    i would have liked us to get a low rent guy for our rotation. it would also generate competition of which we have none. i know the pitching out there was not great, but we didnt do anything last year either.

    our rotation is a joke and the response was to bring everyone back because they are all great pitchers.

    i think we are on schedule to have a 500 team. everyone has gotten better and bay does not materially change the equation.

  7. scott

    i think we should fire jerry now. not for the first week of the season, but for last year.

    i think he is a terrible manager who rips his players and plays favorites.

  8. I don’t think the issue here is the starting pitching — at least not with the way the bullpen has been bailing them out.

    The issue is Jacobs, Cora and GMJ: Three guys who have no business in a starting big-league lineup. When you put these guys on your lineup card, you are pretty much assuring yourself of three outs. That puts an enormous burden on the rest of the team to be on their games, something we probably haven’t seen yet from Castillo, Reyes and, probably, Bay.

    You just can’t compete when almost half of your lineup is just a giveaway.

  9. (8) JD: My pleasure. Let’s add Ben Sheets to the list for now: 0 and 0 4.09 ERA 1.91 WHIP All that for 10 mil.

    (9) Tiffany: True. Unfortunately in two of three instances the replacements are no great shakes either.

    In a nutshell the team has to tread .500 water until Beltran gets back. Then we’ll see where they are. (Of course with some reacting and some overreacting along the way.) LOL

  10. (10) The other obvious problem here is that there’s no lefty power bat in this lineup; as such, it’s all too easy for an opposing manager to bring in a righty reliever and watch him sail through the lineup (e.g., Bradenhop, Clippard).

    My solutions:

    1.) Get Reyes and Castillo jump-started at the top of the lineup. Without them, the offense is doomed.

    2.) Bring up Ike Davis sooner than later. I don’t think they can wait for Beltran’s return; Jacobs is just not going to have the lineup presence they need.

  11. just looking at the lineup
    jose (getting back into shape)
    luis (old)
    d wright (good amount of BB, missing pitches to drive though)
    bay (streaky hitter)
    frenchy (streaky streaky streaky)
    tatis (HE’S OUR 1B???????, ugh)
    barajas (fine i guess, no obp)
    pagan (career long 4th OF)

    and why do i get angry we cant score runs???…talent level right now is not high enough to compete..UNLESS you do ALL of the little things, and the mets, for yrs now, do not consistently do the little things well…poor managing in that regard, lack of talent (more of a lack of depth) is on the GM…same story, different yr
    time for a new GM, a new vision

  12. Jon Heyman’s idea of the best possible met lineup

    Reyes Tejada Wright Bay Beltran Francoeur Davis Barajas

    i like that a lot