Aug 14

METS CHAT ROOM: Games #115/116; Home again.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

First of all, I’d like to begin by saying thank you to all of you out there. The last week or so, after the email prodding of a few, I have started to post longer threads in addition to the Mets Chat Room. I am appreciative that you still like reading what I have to say and I am grateful that although I haven’t been around the team as much as I would like that you are still interested in my thoughts and what I can dig up.

Your interest and support is carrying me through a difficult time and I will try to finish the season strong with more writing and analysis. Again, thank you.

Tonight, our heroes return home after a hideous road trip. They are still mathematically alive, but let’s be realistic. With the Giants, Atlanta and Philly in during this homestand, even the pipe dreams could soon be over.

The 53–61 Mets host the Giants (62–62), with Bobby Parnell (2–4, 3.94 ERA) going against Barry Zito (8–10, 4.40 ERA).

Pitching is a key issue for the Mets, and Parnell could be a rotation answer next season. He was limited in his last start to around 60 pitches, but will have a 75-pitch ceiling tonight. As with all young pitchers, development of his secondary pitches is critical, and in Parnell’s case, that means better use of his slider and splitter. Last time, it was too much fastball, of which he had little control.

Here’s the batting order:

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

NOTEBOOK: Manager Jerry Manuel said Livan Hernandez will remain in the rotation. That’s hardly a surprise considering his options. … David Wright’s sore knee is good enough for him to play. … Manuel said he believes Carlos Beltran will play again this summer. Why?

Aug 14

Some random thoughts ….

Going over a few things in my mind, including yesterday’s Sheffield post.

* I don’t see how anyone could think bringing back Gary Sheffield for next year is a good idea. With the complaints this year of the Mets being old and not athletic, Sheffield in 2010 does nothing to make that happen. The Mets look listless now, and Sheffield only adds to that appearance when you see him in the outfield. Sheffield has always been a me-first guy, and he’ll complain about playing time for sure. At 40, he’s not getting any younger and is already showing break-down signs. If he would had 25 homers in the bank I’d consider it, but he’s got 10. That might be decent coming off the bench, but this guy wants to play full time. Bad move.

* We’ll know this afternoon whether Livan Hernandez will stay in the rotation. Jerry Manuel talks about his respect for Hernandez, but he’s let him twist in the wind since his last start. Do the Mets really have any other viable options? Probably not. Like with Sheffield, I would be willing to see what I could get for Hernandez in a waiver deal considering we probably won’t see him next season.

* David Wright’s knee has been examined and we’ll find out the results later today. With the team going nowhere, there’s not point running him into the ground.

* In the “It’s About Time,” category, fans will notice photos of notable Mets and moments in club history around Citi Field at tonight’s game against the Giants. Why this wasn’t done from the outset, along with a Mets’ Hall of Fame, is beyond me. The Mets don’t have the glorious history of the Yankees or Dodgers, but they have an compelling history nonetheless. It should have been honored and on display all along. The Jackie Robinson Rotunda is a meaningful exhibit, but it isn’t about the Mets. Honor your own history before someone else’s.

* I’ve said this numerous times, so once more shouldn’t hurt. The competitive aspect of the season is over. Shut down Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran to let them fully heal. Unless there are serious concerns about their health that need to be answered as to prepare for the off-season – and this doesn’t seem to be the case – there’s no benefit in dragging them out there again this year. It could only make matters worse.

* Billy Wagner is expected to be activated Sunday, and he’s somebody the Mets might be able to swing a waiver deal for to pick up a prospect. Left relievers are valuable in a pennant race and if Wagner is close to being 100 percent he could net something in return. They certainly aren’t going to offer him arbitration they might as well see what is out there.

* For the most part, I’ve held my tongue on Gannett. Not now. On a sad note, my former newspaper, The Journal News, is forcing employees to re-apply for their jobs. Even so, at least 70 people will get cut. Some good people will lose their jobs. Management said only current employees are eligible to apply, but apparently these Gannett openings are on the public job boards. Nice lie. Just a different lie than the one they told me.

Gannett still makes a profit, but apparently not enough. This used to be an aggressive newspaper with quality people putting out a quality product. It is but a shell of its former self as Corporate gut the product, presumably to write-off its self-inflicted losses. It’s a sleazy company that deserves its demise. Unfortunately, a lot of innocent people get hurt.

I guess, all you need to know about the small thinking that goes on at my former place is every afternoon they cut off the air conditioning for an hour to presumably save a few pennies.

Stay classy Gannett, stay classy.

Aug 13

Puzzling Sheffield decision.

Reportedly, Gary Sheffield and Pedro Feliciano were pulled off waivers after being claimed. Feliciano, I can see. As a lefty reliever he’s a valuable commodity, something the Mets could use next season.

Sheffield, I don’t understand. By pulling him off waivers they can’t deal him and with this season fading away, what’s the point? It’s not as if he’ll carry the Mets for the next seven weeks into the playoffs. Instead, it shows some interest in next year, which is puzzling.

Jerry Manuel said he’d like Sheffield back, but he’s only good when he’s healthy and plays every day. How long ago has that been?

Do the Mets really see a 40-plus, breaking-down outfielder as central to their plans for 2010? If that’s the case, they are in even worse shape than I thought. The Mets need to get younger and more athletic, and Sheffield doesn’t fit that description.

No, they wouldn’t have gotten much for him, but something is better than nothing.

Aug 12

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #114; Perez tries to stop slide.

The Mets close their so-far 1-5 road trip this afternoon in Arizona with Oliver Perez. Giving the ball to Perez to stop a losing skid doesn’t seem like such a comforting thought, but that’s what he did in his last start at San Diego.

Oliver Perez (2-3, 6.38) will toe the rubber for New York looking to build on perhaps his best performance of the season.

In a rare solid start, Perez gave up one run on two hits with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. However, closer Francisco Rodriguez threw it away when he gave up five runs, including a walk-off grand slam, in a 6-2 loss at San Diego on Friday.

Perez started against Arizona, Aug. 1, giving up three runs and walking five in five innings and didn’t get a decision.

David Wright, who struck out last night to end the game as a pinch-hitter, should be back in the line-up today. In an interesting note, manager Jerry Manuel said he’d like to see Gary Sheffield return.

I’m cool to the idea. I think the Mets have gotten the most they can out of Sheffield and don’t see a substantial improvement next season.

Aug 12

About last night …. Hernandez hits wall

Livan Hernandez has had his moments this year, and he might again. But, right now he has hit a wall. Hernandez was supposed to be an innings eater, and earlier in the season he was, but he’s getting ripped now.

We know he was a stop-gap, as most No. 5′s are, but he’s not stopping anything lately. As of now, the Mets should be looking for at least two starters in the off-season. The givens are Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and sad to say, Oliver Perez.

The Mets aren’t going to get anybody to take Perez’s contract, and for that kind of money, you don’t go into the bullpen unless you’re a top-flight closer.