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.

Sep 10

Doc back in baseball

There was a time when the nickname said it all. When you said “Doc,” everybody knew exactly who you were talking about. Dwight Gooden and the “K” corner was the best there was for several magical seasons at Shea Stadium.

Drugs took it all away, but he saved enough magic for one more night: A no-hitter while with the Yankees in 2006. The Mets’ franchise has never thrown one.

GOODEN: There was a time when he was special.

GOODEN: There was a time when he was special.

After bouncing around the Yankees and Mets in goodwill fashion the past few years, Gooden will now serve as a senior vice president of the Newark Bears, an Atlantic League franchise. Gooden will be the Bears’ community ambassador and work with youth baseball camps and leagues.

 

It is hoped Gooden’s story will sink in with more than a few kids.

I saw Gooden pitch several times and the feeling was always electric. The fastball sizzled and the curve fell off the table and there was always the feeling of utter domination.

Now is a good time to share some Doc moments.

Sep 10

Delgado in 2010?

Jerry Manuel hasn’t closed the door for a return of Carlos Delgado to the Mets for next season. What had been a foregone conclusion might not happen.

“I think it depends a lot on the makeup of the rest of the team, if you have excess in another area – say, speed, then that balances that out,” Manuel said. “If we gear in that direction, it has to be excess if we don’t have any power to balance the team out.”

DELGADO: Do you want him back?

DELGADO: Do you want him back?


An assumption is the Mets would have more power next season with Carlos Beltran available, Jeff Francoeur there for the entire season, and the hoped-for return of David Wright’s power numbers. Given that, the need for Delgado would be lessened.

Of course, none of the above are guaranteed. Then again, neither is Delgado returning to his second-half 2008 form.

Delgado does not help the Mets get younger, faster, more athletic and cheaper. The Mets have to weigh whether Delgado is closer to being the player he was in the second half last season or the first half and most of 2007.

He also has an injury history, and age and his contract are factors. I’d rather leave first base to Daniel Murphy and use the money elsewhere, preferably pitching. The Mets are rapidly making the transition from being the team that had the World Series door slammed in their faces in 2006, and Delgado is holding onto the past.

Agree or not?

Sep 10

Reyes still wants to play

There are games left to be played, and Mets shortstop Jose Reyes wants to play in them. OK, maybe a few. All right, at least one.

REYES: Wants to take a few swings this year.

REYES: Wants to take a few swings this year.

With the Mets playing out the string, Reyes wants to test his torn right hamstring one more time. The thought of sitting out the winter and not knowing what to expect next spring training gnaws at him. It’s not much the hitting, or fielding and throwing. It’s the all out running. He wants to know if he can air it out between first and third the way he used to.

This isn’t about the Mets wanting to know his health for the sake of testing the trade market, but for Reyes’ peace of mind. By extension, the Mets would breath easier, too.

“I’m going to still try to come back. I’ve been working so hard to come back, so right now I don’t want to say when but I’m still trying,” Reyes said. “I missed so much time. I’d like to come back to get my confidence back and go into spring training with a better idea.”

Reyes has been on the disabled list since May 26 after sustaining a calf injury that was only supposed to keep him out a few days. He has played in only 36 games with a .279 average and 11 steals.

At the time of the injury, the Mets were in second place, a half-game behind Philadelphia. They are 17 back and should be mathematically eliminated in a few days. Even with nothing to play for, manager Jerry Manuel would like to see Reyes out there.

“The more questions we can answer now, the better off we will be in spring training,” Manuel said.

REYES: Not flying so high anymore.

REYES: Not flying so high anymore.


True enough, but Reyes isn’t even doing any baseball drills. The worst case scenario is out there staring at the Mets as if it were in neon. Reyes completely tears out the hamstring, surgery is required and he’s not ready for spring training.

Reyes isn’t ready and the Mets shouldn’t be considering this kind of talk. If the odds are he’ll need the surgery they should do it now and leave nothing to chance.

Another motivation for Reyes to get out there, and it isn’t a good one, although you have to admire his pride, is he’s chapped by criticism – although nobody with the Mets is publicly saying anything – he’s dogging it.

Carlos Beltran’s return, and the possibility of Carlos Delgado coming back. has fueled Reyes’ ire.

“I don’t know why some people think I don’t want to be on the field,” Reyes said. “I live for baseball. I always play baseball since I was little. I love to be on the field. That’s my main goal. If I ready the last week of the season, I’m going to play the last week of the season.”