Aug 11

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #113; struggling in the desert.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

It didn’t seem that long ago that a five-game winning streak briefly showed the Mets with signs of life in their increasingly remote chances of playing October baseball.

Let’s face it, ain’t happening. Also not happening is Gary Sheffield. He won’t start tonight, either, but is available as a pinch hitter like last night.

The Mets go into tonight’s game at Arizona losers of nine of their last 12 games. With the offense on life-support, the rotation has responded with a 5.57 ERA in that span.

At one time, June 7 after throwing seven shutout innings against Washington, was 5-1. He takes a 7-6 record and 5.08 to the mound tonight.

Last Thursday, Hernandez gave up seven runs in five innings in losing at San Diego. He has given up seven runs or more in three of his last six outings. Lifetime, Hernandez is 10-6 with a 3.51 ERA against the Diamondbacks, but his history over the past two months is a greater measure of what to expect.

The Mets will send this line-up against Max Scherzer (6-6, 4.01):

Cory Sullivan, LF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Jeremy Reed, CF
Alex Cora, SS
Brian Schneider, C
Livan Hernandez, RP

Aug 11

Sheffield likely to play tonight.

Manager Jerry Sheffield said to expect Gary Sheffield in the line-up tonight at Arizona. Sheffield has been hobbled with a sore hamstring since July 17. Prior to last night’s game, Manuel told Sheffield not to expect to start until he’s healed, but after appearing as a pinch-hitter it looks as if he’ll get the green light.

SHEFFIELD: Could he go?

SHEFFIELD: Could he go?


Sheffield believes he’s ready.

“If there ever was a time I thought I couldn’t play, that would be a time I would walk away,” said Sheffield, who unbelievable leads the Mets with ten homers. “But I still can hit 30 home runs. I can still hit in the middle of the order for a contending ball club.”

The operative words there are “contending ball club.”

With the season fading away, we know Sheffield, 40, won’t be invited back next season and his real value to the Mets might be in getting a minor league player in a waiver deal.

Aug 11

What do you think?

Not surprisingly, Jamie Moyer was the one bumped from the rotation to make room for diva Pedro Martinez’s return Wednesday at Chicago from the disabled list. Moyer will move to the bullpen when pitches.

MARTINEZ: Diva gets ball tomorrow.

MARTINEZ: Diva gets ball tomorrow.


That was the inevitable decision when the Phillies said rookie J.A. Happ (8-2, 2.74) would stay in the rotation.

As bad as the Mets’ starting rotation has been, I’m glad they opted to pass on re-signing Martinez, whose time had come and gone in New York.

Do you think the Phillies will disrupt their chemistry by shuffling the rotation to accommodate Martinez?

I believe that’s entirely possible.

Aug 11

About last night …. enough is enough.

OK, I understand about the injuries. The Mets are a hurting group and won’t be whole again this season. We probably won’t see Jose Reyes or Carlos Beltran until spring training. The next time we see Carlos Delgado at Citi Field will likely be in a road uniform.

MANUEL: Went to the whip last night.

MANUEL: Went to the whip last night.


Lack of all their parts has cost the Mets a considerable number of their 60 losses, but also damaging has been their often uninspired, lazy, sloppy brand of baseball. Sloppy was on full display in last night’s loss at Arizona.

Manager Jerry Manuel simply told reporters last night, “we were a bad team,” and privately lashed out at several players. Daniel Murphy failed to cover first base on what could have been a double play; instead Anderson Hernandez threw to an empty base. (Not too bright, either.) Angel Pagan didn’t think on two costly outfield plays, one a careless dive and the other an errant throw. Both led to runs.

And, Mike Pelfrey continued to languish in mediocrity. Pelfrey, who had been expected to make significant strides this season, is floating through this season in Oliver Perez-like fashion.

OK, the Mets aren’t whole, but that’s no excuse for playing lazy-thinking and lazy-hustling baseball. Physical errors are part of the game, but errors caused by a lack of concentration or preparation are never acceptable. Never.

Here’s the deal. Before every pitch, a defensive player must ask himself what he would do if the ball were hit to him. He should have a plan. Hustle is admirable, but misplaced hustle, as in Pagan’s dive, is not smart baseball. And, Pagan has made more than his fair share of poor-thinking plays on the bases.

Injuries are one thing, but there have been numerous instances of undermanned and under talented teams winning – and that includes the World Series – by playing fundamentally sound. Not doing so is the first indication a team is packing in a season. It is a sign of quitting, and that’s a reflection on a manager, and Manuel can’t be happy about that prospect.

Believe me, everything will be open to evaluation after the season and that includes the manager. Manuel will be judged more on if he still has the ear and backing of the players than a won-loss record that at this rate will be lucky to be .500.

After chewing on his players, Manuel also blamed fatigue, but that’s his responsibility. David Wright gets only his second rest of the season tonight, but there have been other opportunities to give him a blow. There is simply no reason why fatigue should be an issue if the players are utilized properly. Conversely, there’s no reason why Francisco Rodriguez’s slide can be attributed to rust. Giving regular and consistent workloads to a player is also the responsibility of the manager and coaching staff.

When the story of this season is written, four sentences from Manuel last night will neatly summarize what has been the storyline to too many games this season: “A very poor game. A poor effort on our part. Despite maybe not having what we’d like to have, still it’s the major leagues. We have to perform better than that.”

Says it all, really.

It is true, true character is more revealed in times of adversity than prosperity. And, with the season dwindling away, the Mets still have a chance to salvage something. Their pride and self-respect, or at least a fraction of what is left. The season won’t just be neatly packaged by the injuries, but by the effort in the remaining 50 games.

Those 50 games will also go a long way toward the off-season evaluation process and the quest for jobs next spring.

Aug 10

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #112; Pelfrey vs. Snakes.

Thundering and lightning here in the Northeast. The lights have already flickered a couple of times tonight. I hope I don’t lose power and the Internet goes.

The Mets (52–59) begin a three-game series at Arizona (50–62) tonight with Mike Pelfrey (8-7, 4.75 ERA) going against Doug Davis (6-10, 3.67). The Mets have won 15 of their last 17 games at Arizona. Pelfrey is a 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in four career starts against Arizona.

PELFREY: Needs to stay away from the big inning.

PELFREY: Needs to stay away from the big inning.


With 50 games remaining there are a lot of issues surrounding the Mets, with the one of the most important being the development of Pelfrey. He appears to have taken a step back from last season and hasn’t lived up to expectations. Pelfrey was supposed to win as many as 15 games this season. Maybe more.

Working on eight days off – without throwing – there is concern Pelfrey might experience a little rust. Pelfrey’s problem this season has been an inability to limit the damage. There’s always been one inning where Pelfrey unravels, and not surprisingly, control has been the issue.

Gary Sheffield, who last played Aug. 5 against St. Louis, remains out of the lineup with hamstring tightness.

Here’s the line-up:

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