May 13

May 13.10: Chat Room, Game #35 at Marlins: Classic pitcher’s duel.

The Mets begin an eight-game road trip tonight in Florida in a classic pitcher’s duel: Johan Santana vs. Josh Johnson.

Something has to break because both pitchers dominate the opposition, with Santana 6-1 with a 1.66 ERA in eight career starts against the Marlins. Johnson is not the type of pitcher a team in a hitting funk likes to face. He is 7-1 against the Mets, including 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA in five home starts against them.

The Mets’ lone victory over Johnson came Opening Day at Citi Field. The Marlins, however, won the next two games of that series.

The Mets need to get Jose Reyes going. Reyes is mired in a season-long slump, which hasn’t been helped by the move to third in the batting order. Reyes is batting .228 with a .283 on-base percentage. He is hitting .242 since being moved out of the leadoff spot.

Clearly, he’s not performing well hitting third. He’s trying to do too much with the ball. He’s better off going back to first where he’s more comfortable. Hitting is all about comfort, and Reyes looks uncomfortable at the plate. He’s reaching for pitches and is swinging with more of an uppercut than he has in the past.

However, manager Jerry Manuel is insistent on leaving Reyes third in the order ahead of Jason Bay. Manuel’s theory is Bay will see more fastballs with Reyes on ahead of him. The problem is Reyes isn’t on much these days. And, Bay only has one homer on the season, so where he has benefitted I’m not sure.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

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

NOTE: I have my class tonight and won’t be home until nine. Hope to see you then.

May 13

May 13.10: Phillies vs. Mets Spygate

What’s the first thing somebody usually does when caught doing something wrong? That’s right, he tries to shift the attention to somebody else.

That’s exactly what Phillies manager Charlie Manuel did after his team was caught stealing signs in Colorado when he said, “somebody maybe ought to check the Mets if they did that.’’

The Mets? You mean the same team that was pummeled twice in Philadelphia recently and lost seven of nine games there last season?

Yes, those Mets.

“Their [bleeping] home record is out of this world and they’re losing on the road,’’ Manuel said. “Sometimes that’s a good indicator of getting signs. … That kind of crosses my mind. I’m not accusing them, but you look at that. … We’re about the same home and road. I’m just saying their record is much better at home and they hit better.’’

What Manuel didn’t say, but you know he’s thinking, is the Mets are in his head. If Manuel weren’t concerned about the Mets he wouldn’t have said anything. He’s just trying to deflect attention from him and rattle a few cages at Citi Field.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel, who doesn’t seem to be rattled by anything, said: “Tell Charlie our bullpen is a little far and we have a few other things going on.’’

Yes, this will be a nice little race before it is over.

May 12

May 12.10: Chat Room, Game #34 vs. Nationals: Keeping the edge.

The delicate flip side to an emotional victory is the possibility of a let down. The Mets will attempt to guard against that this afternoon against the Washington Nationals at wet Citi Field after last night’s dramatic eighth-inning, six-run rally.

The Mets’ offense finally awoke and rallied from five runs down in their largest comeback of the season.

The Mets will go with Mike Pelfrey (4-1, 2.65), who gave up three runs in 7 1/3 innings in his last start, Friday against San Francisco. Pelfrey didn’t get a decision, but complained of tightness in his right shoulder for the second time in two starts.

With the weather wet and cool, it will be interesting to see how Pelfrey responds.

The Mets will sit second Luis Castillo, who has a bruised left foot.

Here’s today’s line-up for the 18-15 Mets behind Pelfrey:

Angel Pagan, CF
Alex Cora, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Mike Pelfrey, RP

May 11

May 11.10: Chat Room, Game #33 vs. Nationals: Trying to jumpstart offense against Olson.

The Mets will be trying to get their offense on track tonight against the Washington Nationals as they seek to break a two-game home losing streak.

Jon Niese (1-1, 3.60) goes against the Nationals’ Scott Olson in a duel of left-handers. Niese coming off a no-decision in his last start when he gave up four runs and a career-high 12 hits in six innings last Wednesday in an extra-inning loss at Cincinnati.

Niese is 0-2 with a 3.79 ERA in seven starts at Citi Field, but has never faced Washington.

The Mets have given Niese 28 runs in his six starts, but 15 came in two of them so they’ve been all or nothing with him.

The Mets’ stagnant offense of late will try to get it going against a familiar patsy in Olson, who after his first career win against them has lost six straight with a 5.22 ERA in nine starts.

Here’s tonight’s line-up

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Jon Niese, LP

NOTE: I have class tonight and will be gone until nine. I hope you stop by and post to keep the room moving until then. Thanks. John

May 11

May 11.10: Finding the right order; Manuel has some thinking to do.

It’s obvious the Mets’ offense is in trouble, with once again last night demonstrating an appalling lack of ability to hit with runners in scoring position.

Jerry Manuel talks about “getting things going,’’ and that includes putting the players in the right position for success.

Clearly, they are not.

It’s time to re-juggle the lineup, which means put Jose Reyes back at leadoff. There are some who will argue he’s still stealing bases now, but that’s more attributable to his legs getting stronger than his spot in the order.

All too often I see Reyes swinging out of his shoes with little attempt at selectivity.

Reyes has the potential to be the game’s premier leadoff hitter. Put him there and leave him there.

The following order is thinking out loud with the hope of generating something until the next need to shake things up.

I like David Wright best hitting third, but his two hits last night notwithstanding, he’s still mired in some bad habits. It has worked before for Wright has struggled and it could work again, and that is to move him to second. Hitting second, where he’d have to protect the runner would help shorten Wright’s swing and hopefully lifting him out of his bad habits.

Because he’s been driving the ball and has the speed element, I’d put Angel Pagan third. And, yes, I fear the mentality of hitting third might do for him what it has done for Reyes. But, unlike Reyes, Pagan has hit all over the order so perhaps the transition would be a little less.

The guy who is really killing the Mets has been Jason Bay. He needs a day off and maybe he’ll get one with the promotion of Chris Carter from Triple-A Buffalo and the DFA of Frank Catalanotto. It makes no sense to bring up Carter unless they intend to play him, but who sits?

Give Bay a rest, time to collect his thoughts, and maybe he’ll be fresher. With that being said, because there are no other alternatives Bay would have to stay cleanup when he plays.

Next I’d elevate Ike Davis to fifth. Davis is one of the few Mets who seems to have an idea at the plate. I would be tempted to bat him fourth, but fear it might put too much pressure on him.

Sixth would be Jeff Francoeur, whose hot start is a memory. He’s another who might benefit from having a day off.

Seventh would be Rod Barajas, but with his slugging percentage it might not be a bad idea to elevate him past Francoeur. At one time I thought clean-up would be a temporary spot, but know the Mets would never go for it.

Eighth, unfortunately, will be Luis Castillo, who is taken out of his spot because the others aren’t doing their jobs. Castillo has been playing well and is the ideal No. 2 hitter, but getting Wright going is crucial.

There are no doubt flaws in this thinking, which, of course, I’m sure you will point out. This is not a permanent solution, but something temporary to jumpstart things.

If you’ve got other lineup suggestions, let’s hear them.