The Mets are entering a strangely familiar territory.
Last year the prevailing midseason issue after the break was whether Jerry Manuel could take control of his team and guide them either into the postseason, or to at least make a wild-card run.
It didn’t happen. On this date last season, the Mets broke a three-game losing streak coming out of the All-Star break with a series-salvaging 4-3 victory at San Francisco in 10 innings.
The game featured an atrocious call by plate umpire Phil Cuzzi that swiped a victory from the Giants. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Cuzzi called out Travis Ishikawa at the plate, saying he slide under Henry Blanco’s tag.
Replays proved otherwise, but most damning was Blanco’s comments: “He was safe all the way. Everybody was surprised when he was called out.’’
With the victory, the Mets moved to 49-43, five games behind in the National East. Not bad on the surface, but the Mets were in the midst of losing seven of nine games, and would go on to lose six of their next eight, all on the road.
This season, the Mets dropped two of three coming out of the break to Philadelphia, and overall have dropped five of their last seven games.
The Mets close out July with a make-up game tonight at Citi Field, followed by three home games with St. Louis. Then they are on the road to Florida for three, Cincinnati for three and Washington for three.
Even with the positive news about Jose Reyes’ rehab game tonight, the Mets are in for an interesting couple of weeks until the trade deadline.
Last year they unraveled, but they had little to give up as nobody wanted Oliver Perez or Luis Castillo. This season there are more attractive things on the Mets’ rosters for contenders.
Carlos Beltran is currently the big prize. He’s healthy, playing well and has adjusted to a new team. The Mets could bring a prospect or two in return, more, if they extend a negotiating window to the team in attempt to land Beltran long term. Of course, Beltran’s agent is Scott Boras, and his preference in similar situations is to play the open market.
Boras is not likely to do anything to help the Mets, who will not receive compensatory draft picks if he leaves as a FA.
Reyes, who hopes to play tomorrow, is also available, but the Mets would like to keep him, and will do so unless they are bowled over. If that were to happen, the team would want a chance to negotiate with Reyes long term. The Mets will get more of a package in this situation rather than if they sell him to a team as a rental.
The Mets have several other players teams could covet in support or bullpen roles, including: Angel Pagan, Scott Hairston, Tim Byrdak, Jason Isringhausen, and tonight’s starter, Chris Capuano.
Here’s tonight’s lineup behind Capuano:
Angel Pagan, CF
Willie Harris, 2B
Daniel Murphy, 3B
Scott Hairston, RF
Lucas Duda, 1B
Jason Bay, LF
Josh Thole, C
Ruben Tejada, SS
Chris Capuano, LP