Sep 14

The key issues remaining for the Mets

The Mets have made it clear they are thinking toward next season with their decisions to activate Carlos Beltran and John Maine from the disabled list. As this disappointing year draws to a close these are some of the key issues remaining that need to be addressed.

1) John Maine proving he’s healthy over the next three starts?
My take: This is a key domino because it dictates in large part what the team does in the off-season.

MAINE: Needs to close strong.

MAINE: Needs to close strong.


2) Jose Reyes being activated from the disabled list?
My take: With how long it has taken him and talk of surgery, Reyes playing can only lead to bad things.

3) Carlos Delgado being activated from the disabled list?
My take: I don’t think he’s coming back, so no, especially if they are still high on Daniel Murphy at first base.

4) Mike Pelfrey putting several consistently good starts together?
My take: It would be good for his self-confidence, which right now has to be close to rock bottom.

5) David Wright regaining his power stroke?
My take: I think Philadelphia was a start. He’s had such a streaky season. I’d like to see him go long at Citi Field to get that out of his head.

6) Francisco Rodriguez being healthy and not making every save an adventure?
My take: He hasn’t pitched to expectations, especially after that game at Yankee Stadium when Luis Castillo dropped the pop-up. Something isn’t right with him.

7) Angel Pagan getting a clue on the bases?
My take: If it hasn’t happened now, it won’t the rest of the way. If he’s to contend for the left job next year he has to be smarter, both in the field and on the bases.

8) Daniel Murphy improving at first base?
My take: Important, because if they are confident in Murphy that’s one less thing on their plate this winter.

Sep 13

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #143; Big sports day.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

A lot of things happening today and hopefully we can talk about a lot of them. Of course, we’ve got the Mets and Phillies. Twice. What’s important about today for the Mets is the same thing that has been important for the last two months – a positive sign in this negative season.

Today, we get a chance to look at John Maine for the first time since June. His results aren’t as important as his health. If Maine shows he can get through today – he’ll get about 60 pitches – and a few more starts, it would go a long way toward the Mets’ off-season thinking. If Maine can pitch without pain, the Mets would probably tender him a contract. My feeling is they’ll probably do it anyway because they are so short on pitching and the FA market is thin that it wouldn’t hurt any. Better to sign him and hope for the best rather than let him go and watch him recover elsewhere.

It might just turn out Maine might be better suited for the bullpen, and there’s nothing wrong with learning that this month. Let’s not forget, Maine was once a 15-game winner before things went south for him last season. He’s still young enough to where the Mets shouldn’t give up the ghost on him.

MAINE: Can he come back?

MAINE: Can he come back?


Maine (5-4, 4.52 ERA) last pitched in Washington, June 6, and gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings. He was placed on the disabled list following that start.

Yesterday was supposed to be about Mike Pelfrey taking another step. Too bad it was backwards. Pelfrey gave up eight runs, including three homers, in six innings.

“I thought I made some big mistakes – mistakes over the middle part of the plate…I’m disappointed, but we came back and won,” Pelfrey said. “That takes some of it away.”

Actually, it doesn’t. Not with the season already lost. If the Mets were in a race, maybe so, because the victory would have been needed. However, at this stage, it’s about individuals being accountable and Pelfrey is a big part of the Mets’ future. For him to pitch so poorly is alarming. He is 25, and at an age when he should be making progress, after a 5-2 start through June 16, he is 10-10 with a 5.09 ERA. For his career he is 28-30 with a 4.59 ERA.

Pelfrey began the season as the No. 2 starter, but he’s performed like a back-end rotation arm.

On a bright note, David Wright hit two homers yesterday. I would like to see him finish with a flourish to get a positive feeling heading into next year. Wright changed his approach this season thinking he wouldn’t hit for power at Citi Field. It turned out he was right, but how much of that was him talking himself out of it? Wright is now tied with Gary Sheffield for the team lead with 10 homers. For his average, which is around .320, it wasn’t worth the sacrifice.

If you get frustrated with the Mets, and that’s easy to do, we could always talk some football if you’d like. If there’s interest, I don’t mind doing a football blog. I do plan on blogging the baseball postseason. There were some good conversations last fall even though the Mets were at home.

Here’s the line-up for the today’s first game in Philly:

Angel Pagan, CF
Anderson Hernandez, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Josh Thole, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
John Maine, RP

Sep 12

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #142; Twenty games left.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The Mets (62-79) continue their four-game series with the Phillies (80-59) today at Philadelphia, with Mike Pelfrey (10-10, 4.83) going against Jamie Moyer (12-9, 4.98).

Including today, there are 20 games left in this dismal season. The Mets are 19 games behind the Phillies in the NL East and 19.5 games behind Colorado for a wild card. I’m just being official when I say do the math.

Pelfrey is 3-0 with a 3.70 ERA in four starts against the Phillies this season. He is coming off one of his rare good starts, when he gave up one run on five hits through a a season-high eight innings last weekend against the Cubs.

The following is yet another line-up for the Mets:

Luis Castillo, 2B
Fernando Tatis, LF
David Wright, 3B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Omir Santos, C
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Wilson Valdez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP

Sep 11

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #141; Should have meant something.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The Mets are in Philadelphia tonight for the start of a series that when the schedule was released, should have meant something. Frankly, it was just around the All-Star break when the feeling was surfacing the season would have a sour ending.

Before the end of July, it was obvious the season was lost.

The 2009 season is in its last breaths for the Mets, and manager Jerry Manuel tried to stress upon his team the need for finishing strong and upbeat. Manuel held a closed-door meeting prior to last night’s game and the team responded by getting blown out.

“I just wanted to be sure that we stay concentrating on what’s ahead,’’ Manuel said. “And, despite where we are in the standings, even though the end is very near, the quest for a championship continues.

“You have to try and prepare that mindset, despite the conclusion of the season being so close. There are enough players here who we feel are going to be a part of this, who still have to think in that mindset of championship.’’

The Class of the Division

The Class of the Division


Toward that end, Manuel wants to see an inspired series against the Phillies, but perhaps more importantly, he wants them to see and absorb how their nemesis plays the game. Usually, the Phillies play an alert, aggressive, fundamental brand of baseball, something the Mets frequently do not.

As gifted as the Mets think they are, and as dominant as they sometimes can be, too often they have this attitude where they can just throw their gloves on the field and just win. How the Phillies dissed the Mets last year in the playoffs with the Shane Victorino simulated home run trot of Jose Reyes, and Cole Hamels, “chokers,’’ comment, it is apparent they don’t respect Manuel’s team all that much.

More to the point, the Phillies know they can beat the Mets and simply believe like a hollow barrel, they make the most noise.

It would be nice to see the Mets play inspired ball this weekend. And, it is quite possible they might. However, it would be nicer to see them play inspired ball and finish the season that way. All too often, the Mets have spurted only to fizzle.

That’s not the makings of a championship caliber team, something the Mets have readily shown us the past three seasons.

MURPHY: Not a lot of happy moments this year for Mets and Murphy.

MURPHY: Not a lot of happy moments this year for Mets and Murphy.


The Mets (62-78) will send journeyman Nelson Figueroa (2-4, 4.74 ERA) against Hamels (8–9, 4.32 ERA).

As a makeshift starter, Figueroa has a 3.00 ERA in his last three starts with 20 strikeouts 18 innings. Hamels is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in two starts against the Mets this season, and for all his talk, has not defeated the Mets since 2006.

The weather is wet and bleak in Philly tonight, but the Phillies are saying the show will go on. Carlos Beltran will have the night off, presumably because of the wet turf. Also getting the night off is Daniel Murphy, which I don’t see. Don’t the Mets what to get a look at him in regards to their future plans and having him bat against a left-hander can be nothing but good for him.

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 1B
Nick Evans, LF
Omir Santos, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
Nelson Figueroa, RP

Sep 10

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #140; Trying to avoid Fish sweep.

METS CHAT ROOM

METS CHAT ROOM

A lot of bad things have happened to the Mets this season. Being swept at home by a National League team is not one of the them. The Mets with Bobby Parnell will attempt the Marlins from sweeping them out of Citi Field tonight.

Parnell (3-7, 5.25) is coming off a no-decision last Friday night in a start against the Chicago Cubs, giving up five hits over seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. Parnell, who opened the season in the bullpen, was shifted to the rotation because of injuries to Johan Santana and Oliver Perez.

PARNELL: The audition continues.

PARNELL: The audition continues.

Parnell should get at least three more starts this season, and with more showings like he had against the Cubs it should give the Mets a sense of comfort for spring training.

Of all the Mets’ make-shift starters, a list that includes Pat Misch, Nelson Figeuroa and Tim Redding, Parnell is the most likely to stay in the rotation for next year. Misch, a lefty, has a chance as a long man. Both Figueroa and Redding have only long-relief possibilities, barring surgery setbacks by Santana and Perez, and an inability to pick up a quality starter in the off-season.

Another question is John Maine, who is scheduled to pitch the second game of a day-night double-header Sunday against Philadelphia.