Apr 28

April 28.10: Perez to stay in rotation.

You knew the question would be asked: Will Oliver Perez stay in the rotation? You probably knew the answer, too.

“I’m going to say with Ollie,” manager Jerry Manuel said after last night’s game.

The Mets have few options to go with instead of Perez, who coughed up a three-run lead and didn’t make it out of the fourth. One option, Hisanori Takahashi, who relieved Perez and struck out five in 3 1/3 innings, has proven to be so valuable out of the pen.

They can also dip down to Buffalo for Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey or Pat Misch.

Any might be an interesting choice for a game, but none can match Perez’s potential when he’s on. It wasn’t that long ago that Perez came up big in a start at St. Louis. The Mets lost, but Perez was strong that night.

It looks like it will be another summer of the Good Ollie vs. the Bad Ollie, but you knew that, too.

Apr 27

April 27.10: Chat Room, Games #20-21 vs. Dodgers: Let’s Play Two.

At one time the Mets were 4-8 and there were rumblings manager Jerry Manuel’s job might be in jeopardy. However, behind stellar pitching the Mets have turned it around.

During their four-game winning streak, the Mets’ staff has a 1.41 ERA, but a .239 average and only one homer. In a larger window, the ERA is 1.39 ERA from the starters in their last two turns through the rotation.

The Mets will start Johan Santana (2-1, 2.59 ERA) and Oliver Perez (0-2, 3.71) in today’s doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Neither has been the recipient of substantial run support.

Santana has given up one run and 12 hits with 14 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings to help the Mets win his last two starts. He’s gotten only four runs in his last three outings.

Perez has been given five runs in his three losses.
To be fair, Perez was not effective in his last start, throwing 97 pitches in five innings while giving up three runs.

Offensively, the Mets have won three straight since dropping Jose Reyes to third in the order, which coincidentally is about the time Jason Bay has started to warm up.

Still cold, however, is David Wright, who is batting .154 with four RBI over the last eight games. Like Perez, Wright has a degree of success against the Dodgers with a .425 average, four homers and 35 RBI in 39 meetings.

Wright will bat fifth behind Bay today. There are only two changes in the lineup from last night: Gary Matthews replaces Jeff Francoeur in right and Rod Barajas returns behind the plate.

Here’s the order for the 10-9 Mets:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Gary Matthews, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Johan Santana, LP

NOTE: I will be with you for most of the day. I need to leave around six for my class and be back by around nine.

Apr 26

April 26.10: Not your old Mike Pelfrey.

As the pitches mounted, and they did rather quickly last night, it was tempting to think, “well, he’s back to being the old Mike Pelfrey.”

The pitches added up to base runners – ten in all – but, other than the angst, not much else. Something strange happened: Pelfrey got a pop up to end one inning; double plays to end two more; and a couple of strikeouts also bailed him.

While one never wants your pitcher to get in trouble, the telling sign is the ability to escape and that’s what Pelfrey did last night. He didn’t just minimize damage, he avoided it all together. That’s something he didn’t do last season, or in spring training of this year for that matter.

Pelfrey is getting outs on his splitter, a secondary pitch he has been working on. There will be times this year when the pitch might flatten, but for now it is working and it is exciting to see his development.

Pelfrey has been on hot streaks before, but this one has a different feel. This one comes with the sense of maturity and progression to the next step. This one has the sense of his development into a pitcher, leaving the thrower behind.

****

The Mets did a solid yesterday when they invited fans to move into whatever seats they wished. OK, you got to stay in them for a few innings, but still the gesture was nice. Also, the Mets announced anybody with yesterday’s game can exchange them for complimentary tickets to a game during the San Diego and Detroit series in June.

For more information, call 718.507.TIXX

Lousy weather all day today in Queens, but tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers is still on.

****

Before we get all get carried away with Ike Davis, just think back to last night and how Tommy Hanson’s fall-off-the-table made him look foolish. Other pitchers will take notice and until Davis proves he can consistently hit the breaking ball, that’s all he’ll face.

****

Apr 25

April 25.10: Chat Room, Game #19 vs. Braves: Pelfrey trying to stay perfect.

Mike Pelfrey might finally be getting it. An uncashed checked so far in his career, Pelfrey is pitching with a sense of confidence and purpose early this season.

Hammered in spring training – Pelfrey said he wasn’t worried because he was working on things – the right-hander has been dominant in April and takes a string of 19 scoreless inning into tonight’s game against the Atlanta Braves.

Pelfrey (3-0, 0.86 ERA) is coming off a strong victory over the Chicago Cubs Tuesday in which he gave up three hits in seven scoreless innings.

“He has great rhythm,’’ said manager Jerry Manuel. “There’s a better presence. He’s staying on top of the mound. He’s ready before the hitter is ready. I think he’s that confident and that in control that he could say, `I’m ready to go and I already know what the sequence is.’ ’’

However, his career numbers haven’t been good against the Braves, going 2-5 with a 6.09 ERA nine starts.

Assuming the game isn’t rained out, he could have a pitcher’s duel with the Braves’ Tommy Hanson.

The Mets are going for the sweep and second straight series win.

“When you win a couple series, you start feeling good about yourself,’’ David Wright said. “You go out there expecting to win.’’

Pitching has been the key. The Mets have allowed two or fewer runs five times in the last six games, and has a 2.09 ERA over the last eight.

Apr 25

April 25.10: Is Bay warming up a coincidence?

Jason Bay is starting to warm up, but it is premature to say the line-up switch lit the fire. Dropping Jose Reyes from leadoff to third is, in theory, supposed to provide Bay with more fastballs.

After a RBI triple Friday and three hits yesterday, Bay said: “It’s really only relevant if Reyes is on first or second,’’ Bay said. “I haven’t noticed a huge difference. I think it coincides with me feeling lot better.’’

Bay is too good a hitter for results to not eventually show. Bay said he’s not there, yet, but does feel more relaxed at the plate.

“A few hits I’ve gotten and at-bats I’ve taken, I feel a lot more comfortable and it’s starting to show,’’ said Bay, who has struck out 23 times, but none since the switch.

Bay is right, to fully see the merits of the switch we have to have multiple situations of Bay up with Reyes in steal situations. The one time we had that, Reyes stole second and went to third on a wild throw.

For Jerry Manuel’s switch to work, we need a broader sampling of at-bats.