With the 2-4 Mets six games into the 20-game plateau manager Jerry Manuel defined as fair to evaluate the start of the season, the team begins its first road trip to Colorado and St. Louis, perhaps two of the more unfriendly venues for visitors.
After losing two each to the Marlins and Nationals – teams they should handle at home at least – the mood of the Mets isn’t panic as much as it is urgency.
There have been three bad starts by the rotation, a trend that would wear down the bullpen eventually, and no hitting with runners in scoring position.
“It’s six games,’’ said outfielder Jeff Francoeur. “With that being said, we’d better get it going quick, because we’ve got some teams coming up that are really, really good.’’
Manuel ripped his team for being unprepared – for which he assumed responsibility – and others wondered about the intensity level.
If the Mets are going to get it started, they’ll have to do it tonight behind John Maine, he of the 7.20 ERA and slow fastball.
Maine has lost some of the velocity, and worse, some of the movement off his fastball, a byproduct of shoulder problems. He says he’s fine, but he still needs to build up strength.
“We’ll continue to hope for that,’’ Manuel said of Maine building up his shoulder strength. “He’s healthy and I don’t see why, being free from setbacks and those types of things, we won’t see that at some point.’’
Maine is 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA in three starts versus the Rockies, so there’s some reason for optimism.
NOTE: I am taking classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights for the next few months, and won’t be around for the start of the game. With the game at 8:40 p.m., I’m expecting to be back by nine, so I might miss the first inning or two.