Aug 01

Pagan vs. Castillo ….

As a hitter, Luis Castillo’s best spot in the lineup is as a No. 2 hitter, where he can bunt, work the count and protect Jose Reyes. That spot in the order best utilizes his offensive skills.

However, his offensive skills pale in comparison to those of Angel Pagan, who can do everything Castillo can, only better. Plus, he can hit for power and at this stage of his career is a greater base stealing threat.

After batting Castillo second for much of the week, Jerry Manuel finally moved Pagan back to the two hole and dropped Castillo to eighth. Not coincidentally, the Mets finally won a game. Let’s hope Manuel learned from this and will continue that alignment in the order.

“(Angel Pagan has) done a terrific job of getting on base and setting the table and being a good situational hitter,” said David Wright. “It makes my job and Carlos’ job a lot easier when he’s creating havoc on the base paths and we’ve got a bunch of runners in scoring position…when we struggle offensively, the best thing to do is keep the line moving like we did tonight and let the next guy do the damage.”

It stands to reason the No. 2 hitter will get more at-bats than the No. 8 hitter, so why would you want to give Castillo that many more at-bats?  You don’t. Bat him eighth and be done with it.

Jul 31

Mets Chat Room; Playing out the string.

Game #104 vs. Diamondbacks.

Well, another trade deadline has come and gone without your Mets doing anything substantial. Wait, I meant, without doing anything at all. I have no problem with the organization wanting to protect its prospects. I can’t get on Omar Minaya for that.

As a general manager, his job is to protect the franchise, and that’s what he did when he said no to those vultures wanting Ike Davis, or Jonathan Niese, or Josh Thole, or Jenrry Mejia.

What I can find fault with is ownership not moving in the offseason to address its pitching needs. I didn’t like it at the time, and I’ll repeat: Their priority last winter was pitching and not Jason Bay.

With what Bay has given them, it isn’t out of line to wonder if his contract will fall in the same bin as that of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. It might be too early to jump to that conclusion, but I’ll bet I’m not the only one to wonder.

What the Mets have done today and for the last month as they floundered was choose their future over their present. They have told us they do not think they are good enough to win this season without a miracle finish.

They were further behind with less time remaining in 1969, but won. Mathematically, it is still possible. But, I’m not counting on any miracles this time around.

Hell, they haven’t been able to beat Arizona. How can we expect them to run the table?

Jul 31

Tonight’s lineup vs. Diamondbacks

Interesting that Jeff Francoeur is not in the starting lineup tonight. It’s not that he needs a rest.

Here’s the lineup:

Jose Reyes, SS

Angel Pagan, RF

David Wright, 3B

Carlos Beltran, CF

Ike Davis, 1B

Chris Carter, LF

Josh Thole, C

Luis Castillo, 2B

Hisanori Takahaski, LP

Jul 31

Don’t blame Omar for protecting prospects ….

The trade deadline is today and if the Mets haven’t done anything by now don’t expect anything in the next four hours. Ted Lilly is an outside chance, but looks headed to the Dodgers.

MINAYA: Will keep pat hand today.

According to reports, and a lot of it is stuff thrown against the wall, the Astros want Bobby Parnell and Josh Thole for Brett Myers. I wouldn’t do Myers straight up for either.

The deadline will pass with the Mets keeping the status quo, and that’s fine by me if what I’ve been hearing is true. Parnell, Thole, Jon Niese and Ike Davis are the names other teams are seeking. That’s the future of this franchise.

I can’t blame Omar Minaya for wanting to protect the future, even if it means not winning this year. Perhaps, if the Mets pulled the trigger on Roy Oswalt a month ago I’d be looking at it differently, because there would have been a chance to make up serious ground. But, at the deadline, not so much.

For years I’ve been hearing the Mets don’t have much of a farm system, but there is a good young core here. To keep it intact is essential.

Jul 30

Mets Chat Room; Pelfrey needs to get it straight.

Mike Pelfrey was better in his last start, but he’s still not there. At one time he was 9-1, now he’s 10-5. He needs to get back to his earlier form starting tonight against Arizona if the Mets are to break out of their downward spiral that has been the month of July.

Game #103 vs. Diamondbacks

Without a sound Pelfrey the Mets have no chance of making a second-half run at the NL East, which is slowly fading away, and made even more unlikely with the Phillies’ acquisition of Roy Oswalt.

Pelfrey is 0-3 with an 11.40 ERA in his last four starts. Included in that span was giving up four first-inning runs in his last start against the Diamondbacks.

The first inning has been a recent trap for Pelfrey.

“(In eight of my) last nine starts, I’ve given up a run in the first inning and I need to find a way of stopping that,’’ Pelfrey said. “Whether it’s throwing more pitches in the ‘pen, I don’t know.’’

Pelfrey gave the Mets a chance in his previous start last weekend at Los Angeles, giving up two runs in five innings. Even so, he still threw a lot of pitches and was removed for a pinch-hitter.

It was the first time in five starts that he made it through five innings. The Mets have lost four of those games.

Pelfrey is 0-5 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts against Arizona.