May 12

Stop it before it starts

The Mets have always been a streaky bunch. Hot, then cold. You knew the winning streak would end eventually, but didn’t think it would come in a game started by Johan Santana.

It’s not surprising he lost, but what is disturbing is the manner in which the Mets lost. They won by playing aggressive, crisp baseball, but last night were sloppy. Five unearned runs is inexcusable.

It’s easy to say it was only one game, but games like that can lead into bad habits. The Mets need a good start tonight from Mike Pelfrey, because, quite frankly, I don’t know if Jon Niese has two in a row. Then they have a murderous trip with four games against the Giants, three at the Dodgers and three at Fenway.

Winning is tough enough as it is and if the Mets start playing sloppy ball then this could be a very difficult stretch.

May 11

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #31; in support on Johan.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Johan Santana is pitching tonight for the Mets against Atlanta, and if the trend continues he’ll get two runs and win. The Mets, going for their eighth straight victory, just can’t score for Santana, giving him a dozen runs in his six starts.

Why can’t the Mets score for Santana? It’s as if they think “all we need is a couple because they won’t score against him.” Not a good mindset to have.

The Mets are on a good roll, but they have to maintain. They can’t afford to let up, especially against the Braves, who have a way of putting the Mets in their place.

May 11

Notice how we haven’t heard the word “edge” lately.

No, not for a minute do I believe the Mets’ winning streak is tied to GM Omar Minaya’s comments about some of his players lacking a certain “edge” to them.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the last game the Mets lost was one started by Oliver Perez that Saturday afternoon in Philly. The Mets came back to make a game of it before losing on a bases loaded walk from Sean Green.

From then on, they’ve played the way they said all along they were capable of.

Why?

The Mets are 12-3 when they get a quality start, which by definition – three runs in six innings – is kind of mediocre when you stop to think about it. Mets starters are 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA in their last seven starts.

When a team pitches well, and that should continue tonight with Johan Santana, then everything else falls into place. There’s less pressure on the offense and less strain on the bullpen. Games are crisper, smoother and played with a certain – what’s the word I’m searching for? – edge if you will.

The Mets are playing aggressive, alert baseball, and there are no worries about heart or calls for leadership.

Once the pitching goes in the tank again, and there will be a stretch when things don’t click again, we’ll hear about “edge” and grit and leadership.

May 09

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #29; on a roll.

Five. Do I hear six? The Mets will try to extend their winning streak today behind John Maine, who has run hot and cold this year. When he’s cold, he usually has one bad inning – very Perez-like – that derails him.

Today, the Mets will be without manager Jerry Manuel, who was suspended for one game for bumping umpire Bill Welke Thursday night arguing the Shane Victorino play. Sandy Alomar Sr. will manage the team.

Here’s the line-up:

Jose Reyes, SS
Luis Castillo, 2B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Carlos Delgado, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, RF
Fernando Tatis, LF
Ramon Castro, C
John Maine, P