Apr 05

Chris Young kicks off series in Philly tonight

Much of the pre-series buzz is about sending a message to the Philadelphia Phillies. Nice hype, but I’m not buying. Even should the Mets sweep the Phillies this week, what message could they possibly send to a team that has reached the playoffs the last three years, including the World Series twice?

YOUNG: Comeback story starts tonight.

By most accounts, the Phillies – even with Chase Utley and Brad Lidge shelved – remain the class of the NL East and are well aware of the annoyance they call the Mets. It’s usually electric when the teams play, but the Phillies are the superior team and they know it.

What’s important to the Mets is they don’t believe it, even though that has been the prevailing feeling in the clubhouse when they compare themselves to Philly. With a good series, the only message the Mets would be sending is to themselves, and the best way to start is to not get ahead of themselves by making more of this series than it really is.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s Game Four,” David Wright said. “It’s obviously a very, very good team. I think it’s a challenge. I don’t think either team is out to necessarily prove anything this early in the season. But it would be nice to go in there and win a series.”

A competitive series would also help in setting the stage for the home opener this Friday. If the Mets get waxed it won’t make for a festive mood this weekend.

Chris Young gets the ball tonight for the Mets. Young threw well during spring training,but coming off a shoulder injury and signed for a bargain basement price, the Mets don’t know what to expect from him.

Young, who hasn’t started 30 games in a season since, 2007, threw 25.1 pain-free innings while compiling a 1.78 ERA in spring training.

“I feel good,” Young told reporters in Florida, where the Mets opened their season by winning two of three from the Marlins. “I’ve made some good strides. I think my arm strength’s increased, breaking ball’s gotten sharper, command’s better. It was a good spring training.”

But, will it be a good year? That’s one of the Mets’ significant questions.


Apr 04

A good weekend in Florida for Mets; Bay still ailing.

The Mets didn’t win their first road series last year until June. They didn’t win their first on the road against a National League team until August.

That’s just the beginning of a positive first impression to take out of the first weekend for the Mets, a team with lowly expectations.

Take away Mike Pelfrey on Friday, and it was a good weekend for the Mets in Florida as they received strong pitching performances from Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey, questions going in.

“The first game was more of what Josh Johnson did than what we didn’t do,’’ said David Wright. “All in all, it was a good weekend, especially since the last couple of years we’ve had a lot of trouble here. It’s good to get off to a good start. We’re going to have to play just as well in Philadelphia [next series].’’

While nobody is getting carried away by the Marlins series, following the Mets must include finding your silver linings when you can. The Mets didn’t let blowing a ninth inning lead derail them Saturday and they put a team away Sunday, both signs missing from last season.

Chris Young will start for the Mets tomorrow night in Philadelphia, where things are always different.

Meanwhile, Jason Bay’s ribs are still hurting and he hasn’t begun swinging a bat, yet. I wouldn’t be placing any bets on him returning in a week. Also, Jason Isringhausen is feeling discomfort in his back. Just as well he took the extended spring training.


Apr 03

Niese sharp against Marlins; Dickey goes for series win.

The way things started last night for Jon Niese, I didn’t expect him to last long, set alone give up only one hit in the next six innings.

NIESE: Sharp last night.

That upside I mentioned yesterday about Niese? Well, we saw it last night.  He was a definite bright spot. So was David Wright, who drove in two runs with a homer and single.


With Jason Bay down and the Carlos Beltran on the mend, the Mets need a good start from Wright.

Beltran, meanwhile, scored from first on a double by Ike Davis. He also doesn’t seem to have any problems moving in the outfield.

I like how the Mets came back from the first inning and after Francisco Rodriguez blew a save opportunity in the ninth. There was no sign of a fragile confidence.

Other good impressions after the first two games:

* Everybody is hustling. No malingerers in the batting box.

* Brad Emaus has looked comfortable at second.

* There’s pep in Jose Reyes’ step.

The Mets go for the series win this afternoon behind R.A. Dickey.

Here’s the batting order:

Jose Reyes, SS

Willie Harris, LF

David Wright, 3B

Ike Davis, 1B

Angel Pagan, CF

Lucas Duda, RF

Daniel Murphy, 2B

Josh Thole, C

R.A. Dickey, RP


Apr 02

Niese going for Mets vs. Fish

Jon Niese going tonight for the boys against Florida. Niese surprised us early last season then struggled in the second half. Hot and cold. Sounds like a lot of Mets’ pitchers. Bottom line is we still don’t know what to expect from him.

I’m glad the Mets eschewed dealing Niese last year at the trade deadline because despite an erratic start to his career, I see a big upside with him. Lefties are golden.

Angel Pagan is hitting second tonight, which I don’t understand. Willie Harris is on the bench tonight despite getting two hits last night.

If you want to engage in a chat room tonight, click on to the Mets Chat icon to your left. I am hopeful the problems from last night have been resolved.

Apr 02

Collins offers no panic

Manager Terry Collins said all the right things last night. He offered no sign of panic or disappointment after his Mets were stuffed by Josh Johnson.

“I’ve done this a lot of years,” Collins said. “It’s the first night. Yeah, we wanted to win. And I know this [Mets] club plays very well on opening night and they win a lot of opening games. When we win our share of games, we’ll forget about opening night. I’m not disappointed. I’m not upset. I thought the guys certainly came in prepared, ready to go. We just ran into a really, really good pitcher. We’re going to run into some more, so we’ve got to learn how to get through it.”

Then again, what else was he going to say? Johnson will do that a lot of times this season.

The bottom line, offensively, is that if you don’t hit you’re going to look like you’re running in mud.

The other story last night was Mike Pelfrey, whose fastball didn’t have bite and movement and let the game get away in the fourth inning. Pelfrey has always had nights like Friday, but save last July, he didn’t have many last season. Pelfrey did not have a good spring and last night was the continuation of it.

You can’t draw any definitive conclusions from one game other than this: On the nights Pelfrey doesn’t show up, the Mets won’t have much of a chance. That’s the way it is when you’re the ace.