Aug 20

Reading between the lines

Gary Sheffield says he’s feeling fine, but nonetheless was scratched from tonight’s line-up. Could it be the Mets have something brewing? It’s possible. Trouble is the Mets pulled Sheffield off waivers earlier, which means they can’t make a deal for him. If they put him through waivers again and he’s claimed he’s gone and the Mets get nothing.

Gotta wonder.

Aug 20

Mets activate Wagner; release Hernandez

As expected, the Mets activated Billy Wagner from the 60-day disabled list this afternoon. Not so expected, that in order to make room they released Livan Hernandez.

Wagner made remarkable progress from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, but don’t expect to see much of him at Citi Field. He’ll get a few showcase appearances and then the Mets will attempt to make a waiver deal.

WAGNER: Here today, gone tomorrow?

WAGNER: Here today, gone tomorrow?


Wagner has a no-trade clause but would waive it in order to go to a contender. He says he could live for being a set-up man for the rest of this season but wants to be a closer next year. The Chicago Cubs, for one, need a closer.

I’ve always liked Wagner, especially for his outspoken nature. He’s always been a stand-up guy as knows the pulse of the clubhouse.

As for Hernandez, he started at 5-1 and then hit a wall. He was 7-8 with a 5.47 ERA, but had a 7.33 ERA in July and an 11.30 ERA in August.

There are contenders who need innings, and Hernandez pitched well enough to where some team will take a look.

Aug 19

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #120; Where did the season go?

METS CHAT ROOM

METS CHAT ROOM

Where did it go? Where did the season disappear to? There are 42 games between now and winter, although, truth be know, from a competitive standpoint the season ended a lot time ago for the Mets.

The goal now is .500, and with it, limited respectability. They are now reduced to the Washington Nationals-like role of spoiler. How distasteful is that? The World Series window that seemed wide open when Aaron Heilman grooved that pitch to Yadier Molina has slammed shut with two year-end fades and this summer’s collapse.

The Mets are looking at the future with Bobby Parnell (3–4, 3.50 ERA) making his third start tonight against the Atlanta Braves.

Parnell’s first start was essentially a 60-pitch ineffective relief appearance, but he looked much better in his last start, an 80-pitch effort, last weekend against the Giants. His ceiling is 100. He could get maybe four more starts after tonight, which should give the Mets a good indication of whether they can slot him into next year’s rotation. That would eliminate a huge off-season headache.

As it always is with young pitchers the question is whether he’s able to command his secondary pitches to go along with his 97-mph. fastball. The fastball stuff he has, the command and movement is still a work in progress.

Here’s the Mets’ line-up against Jair Jurrjens (9-8, 2.99 ERA):

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

NOTEBOOK: Jurrjens is 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA in five starts against the Mets. … Parnell has a 1.62 ERA in his two starts. … Johan Santana said he never asked to be traded. … Sheffield was pulled off waivers when a team tried to claim him which means he can’t be traded. Should Sheffield be put through waivers again and is claimed he’s gone. He said he believes he’ll be gone. … Billy Wagner said he has no designs on closing when he’s activated this week, but next year will be different. There are several teams in need of a closer, including the Chicago Cubs, and others in need of lefty relief, including the Yankees. I don’t see the Mets doing business in the Bronx.

Aug 19

Perez might miss next start

Oliver Perez aggravated his right knee on a play at first base last night and may not be able to make his next start, Sunday against Pedro Martinez and the Phillies.

Perez fell behind 4-0, but despite being ineffective, got the win because the Mets scored eight runs in the fourth inning. He worked the fifth but was replaced for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of that inning. Perez tweaked his knee when he stumbled running to first base. He was on the DL for two months earlier this season with right knee inflammation.

“I want to continue to pitch,” said Perez. “But, I have to take care of my knee.”

Nelson Figueroa or Tim Redding could start if Perez isn’t able.

Aug 18

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #119; Braves in town.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Old punching bag Ryan Church is in town with the Atlanta Braves which means a lot of David Wright questions about concussions. The Mets didn’t handle the Church injury well last season, but to his credit Church said he felt he could play and never backed off those statements. He could have done a lot of bitching and moaning but never did.

There was always a lot of anticipation to Braves at Mets, but the only suspense this time is wondering if the 55-63 Mets could fall 10 games below .500 if they were to be swept.

A couple of starts ago he was the Good Ollie in San Diego, but Oliver Perez, as has been his history, took a step back in his last start against Arizona with six walks in 5 1/3 innings. More disturbing is Perez’s attitude that “walks are part of the game.” Well, so is getting outs. He ought to try that for a change.

Year One of the three-year, $36-million bust of a contract. Re-signed for his physical gifts, Perez’s downfall has been his inability to focus and to drift away from his mechanics, which lead to wildness and frequently the big inning. There are days when you can’t touch him and other days when you’d like to wring his neck.

And, tonight?

I don’t have the vaguest idea. He is 6-4 lifetime against the Braves, which is promising, then I look at Derek Lowe and the line-up he’ll be facing. Only one player, Luis Castillo, is at his Opening Day position.

Here’s the line-up:

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

Lowe (12-7, 4.08 ERA), whom the Mets by-passed to re-sign Perez, has won four consecutive decisions, and hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in a start since July 5. He is 2-2 lifetime against the Mets.