Aug 24

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #125; Phillies series mercifully ends.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

We begin the day with more injury news, of course. Jeff Francoeur is at the Hospital of Special Surgery getting a MRI on his thumb, which was injured making a catch in the ninth inning yesterday. Also, David Wright was taking ground balls.

Bobby Parnell will make his fourth start in the experiment to see if he could be a starter next season. He’ll go against lefty Cliff Lee, who has won four straight decisions since coming over from Cleveland.

Here’s today’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Cory Sullivan, RF
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Bobby Parnell (3-5, 4.74 ERA), RP

NOTES; Parnell was ripped against the Braves in his last start, lasting three innings and giving up nine runs on nine hits.

Aug 24

About yesterday …. no moral victories.

An unassisted triple play is rarer than a perfect game, and rarer still is for one to end a game.

Somehow, it was the perfect way to end a game in this imperfect season.

Before we get carried away about the Mets’ character in coming back from a 6-0 first-inning deficit – and it was an important aspect of the game – we must first acknowledge the game was a microcosm of this season, and to some degree their off-season and this weekend.

On a grand scale, the Mets had high expectations heading into the season, and this was supposed to a magical weekend with the honoring of the 1969 Mets. However, injuries and poor play sabotaged the season, and the grandest team in franchise history was treated to the spectacle of bad baseball. Does anybody really expect Bobby Parnell to out-pitch Cliff Lee to salvage a split.

As injuries have sidetracked this season, there is no telling what might have happened had the Mets even had one of their core bats in the game let alone for. Mets fans will forever be haunted by the what could have beens from this season.

Even still, there are 25 professional players on the team, but despite their spirited comeback, they played to the themes that really have cost the Mets this season: poor starting pitching and situational hitting, and overuse of the bullpen. There was also a questionable managerial decision or two.

Oliver Perez gave up six runs and didn’t get out of the first in another dismal performance that brought to questions of whether he’ll ever tap into his potential, and why the Mets bothered to re-sign him in the first place. As the home runs flew it was a reminder of the organization’s inability to fix its greatest need in the off-season.

Yes, it was an exciting comeback and excruciating ending, but let’s not forget the Mets twice had a runner on third with less than two outs and couldn’t score and they were hitless in their first eight at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Perez’s inexcusable outing piled 8 1/3 innings onto a bullpen that needs the rest. Three runs in that span is acceptable, but not when one of them is on a wild pitch. Sean Green, an off-season acquisition that was supposed to bolster the pen, has had a terrible season.

One thing preyed on my mind as Perez’s pitch count mounted to Jason Werth: This guy is going to hit a home run.

How could Jerry Manuel not be thinking the same thing? And, as Perez continued to struggle, it became apparent he wasn’t going to turn it around, so why keep him in to give up a second three-run homer?

Kind of makes you wonder what Manuel saw on the ball-three pitch to Pedro Martinez that he missed earlier.

Yes, the Mets showed some degree of pride yesterday in coming back. Perhaps they were so fed up and embarrassed about Perez. Whatever the reason, what’s left of this team has to maintain what’s left of this season.

It’s not impossible, but .500 or even a winning record is attainable and should be the goal. Reaching it would mean an improvement in play, including fundamentals, which have been sorely lacking.

Let’s face it, the Mets are playing for next year, and that begins now.

Aug 23

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #124; Yawn … Pedro is back.

Pedro Martinez is back. He’ll get cheered, but frankly, I don’t see the attraction. He was a mercenary who came to New York because, 1) the Red Sox didn’t think he was healthy or worth the effort anymore, and 2) for the money, $53 million worth.

MARTINEZ: Hired gun returns.

MARTINEZ: Hired gun returns.


Martinez was a marquee player on the downside when he came here and won 32 games in four years when he was healthy enough to pitch.

Anyway, Martinez against Oliver Perez today.

Here’s the line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, CF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Brian Schneider, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Oliver Perez, LP

Aug 22

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #123; Miracle Mets honored.

The Mets honored their 1969 Championship team prior to tonight’s game. It was nice they recognized the widows of those who passed. It was a classy gesture, and sometimes it is hard to realize several of them are gone.

I’ve always loved when a franchise honors its past, and I’m glad the Mets did that tonight. I only wish the Mets had done it from the beginning when they opened Citi Field this spring. The Mets don’t have the winning history such as the Yankees and Dodgers, but they have a great history nonetheless and it should always be honored.

Tonight the Mets (57-65) continue their four-game series with the Phillies (69-50), with JA Happ (9-2, 2.66 ERA) taking on Tim Redding (1-4, 6.53).

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
Tim Redding, RP

Aug 21

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #122; Playing out the string.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

With 40 games remaining, tonight was supposed to be the start of a hot series with the rival Philadelphia Phillies. Fueled by Cole Hamels “choke” comments about the Mets last winter, there was to be heat and spice in this rivalry, which for the past two seasons featured a Mets’ collapse down the stretch and being overtaken by the Phillies.

Not only did the Mets blow two sizable leads to their neighbors at the other end of the Jersey Turnpike, but watched them win the World Series and in the process tweak Jose Reyes for his hot dog ways.

Reyes is nowhere to be seen tonight, and we might not see him for the rest of the season. The Phillies, meanwhile, cruise into Citi Field with an unfathomable 16-game lead. It could be 20 by Monday afternoon.

After trading for Cliff Lee, and with four players with at least 20 homers, five with 15, and two more with nine, the Phillies have all the pieces needed to repeat.
The Mets, however, are a team in disarray. Their entire core of David Wright, Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Degado is on the disabled list with no projected dates for their returns. Only two players from the Opening Day line-up – Luis Castillo and Daniel Murphy – are playing regularly. Two of their five starters – Livan Hernandez and John Maine – are out.

Gary Sheffield represents the power with ten homers and he could be gone any minute.

It has been a Twilight Zone season: the power disappeared; they sacked their assistant general manager; Oliver Perez and tonight’s starter, Mike Pelfrey, have been erratic; and injuries have also claimed time from Maine, JJ Putz, Brian Schneider, Perez and Alex Cora.

In some ways, Pelfrey personifies the Mets. A 13-game winner last season, he was supposed to take a step forward and emerge as the No. 2 starter. He takes an 8-8 record and 4.75 ERA to the mound tonight. He has a three-balk game on his resume and has four of his last five decisions.

Pelfrey has become positively Perez-like, being unable to limit the damage and lets innings get away from him. Against a power-laden line-up such as Philadelphia’s things could get out of hand early.

Here’s tonight’s line-up against Hamels:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP