May 10

Mets have a few bright spots along the way.

The Mets wasted another Chris Capuano outing last night, but on the bright spot they has a good outing to waste. Capuano has been up-and-down this spring, but he’s had a several starts suggest he was worth the gamble.

And, before Chris Young was injured, he had his moments, too. Ditto, Pedro Beatto.

The 2011 season hasn’t been totally void of positive developments. Ike Davis has been fun to watch, Jose Thole will continue to improve,  Carlos Beltran has stayed healthy and, despite for some concentration lapses, Jose Reyes has had a good season.

You can make statistics read anything you’d like, but the 15-20 Mets have lost 11 games this season by two or fewer runs. Improvement in the RISP category and they could be a .500 team or better. It’s not that inconceivable to believe.

In every team’s development from bad to decent to good, there are steps and one of them is learning how to win the close games. Yes, they’ve won a few, but the 11 they have lost can be, and should be gnawing to them.

Hopefully, these defeats are bothering them, making them angry and more determined to concentrate and focus when the games are close. That’s why I pointed out the other day about Reyes. Sure, they won that game, but there have been others they lost where he and others fell out of focus.

The Mets are having some good things happen this year, and their losing the close games should be looked upon as a learning experience. When Sandy Alderson is considering how close the Mets are to reaching contending status, this is something he should evaluate closely.

This is not a contending team, but it isn’t one that should be blown up, either.

May 09

Reyes makes you wonder at times.

We keep hearing how good Jose Reyes is, that at 27 he’s a mercurial talent with the potential to be one of the great talents of the game. And, he is good.

REYES: More head scratching.

But, it’s always something with him that makes one pause to think, “what is going on with this guy?’’

Over the past six games Reyes is hitting .440 with a .517 on-base percentage, but that stretch included two head scratching moments Saturday that shouldn’t be excused just because the Mets won that game.

In the second inning he was picked off first as strolled back to first inning, and in the seventh he was inexcusably thrown out at third trying to advance from second on a ball hit to the shortstop.

Stuff like this just shouldn’t happen, especially to a player supposedly as good as Reyes. The play at third is something they teach players in hight school not to do.

Just a couple of more in a long line of earth-to-Reyes moments that have marked his career. They are what separates good from great.


May 08

Have we seen the last of Chris Young?

Considering how it began, you have to be satisfied with the Mets’ six-game homestand against the Giants and Dodgers. A split was about as good as could be expected, and that’s what the Mets got.

Perhaps the most significant development coming out of the homestand was Chris Young’s second appointment to the disabled list. He was a gamble signing to begin with, so this really can’t be looked at as a surprise. The Mets are just fortunate that they’ve received good pitching from Dillon Gee.

The Mets already said Young won’t be activated when he’s eligible to come off the disabled and this makes me wonder if we’ll ever see him again. With his injury history, it is a legitimate question.

No, Young wasn’t ever going to be a stud starter in the Mets’ rotation, but as a gamble you take what you can get and they got 24 innings.


May 07

Something must be done with the umpires.

Enough is enough.

Major League Baseball has long had an umpire problem. There’s never going to be perfection, and missed calls are part of the game and always will be, but it seems they are happening with more regularity.

WEST: He needs to be ejected.

Bad calls are one thing, but couple that with arrogance and it is an untenable situation, such as the one last night at Fenway Park, which figured a meltdown by Red Sox manager Terry Francona clearly initiated by two of the worst umpires in the game, Angel Hernandez and Joe West.

When Francona went out to discuss a balk call against Tim Wakefield, Hernandez ran him within seconds. The rules, ridiculous as they are, dictated an automatic ejection. Francona wanted an explanation of what Wakefield did wrong, but Hernandez never let him get a word in.

That’s a quick trigger. Umpires are supposed to be composed and show some patience, but that obviously goes against the grain with Hernandez. You must give the player or manager the opportunity to make his point.

Had Hernandez shown discretion there might not have been the subsequent meltdown.

That’s when Francona lost it and went after Hernandez, only to be intercepted by West, who has the reputation of being a hothead and wanting to interject himself into the game.

West clearly butted into a situation that didn’t involve him as Francona would say later. All he did was escalate the confrontation. There was contact made – six times according to the replay – but it was instigated by West.

Francona will obviously be fined, perhaps suspended by Commissioner Bud Selig, but West will get a pass because MLB doesn’t want to antagonize the umpires union, which, if angry enough, will take it out on the game and be confrontational all summer.

However, something needs to be done about West, who has consistently been ranked one of the worst umpires in player polls. He has the reputation of being a loose cannon and putting himself in the middle of things.

West, you might recall threw ejected two cameramen from Shea Stadium when they allowed the Mets to view a replay of a play at the plate. He’s also the one who criticized the Yankees and Red Sox for their slow play.

MLB must do something to improve the quality of umpiring. It could begin with expanded instant replay, because the objective is to get it right.

But, what I want is for each umpire to be wired so we can hear what goes on in the argument. We will be able to tell who did the instigating. Many of these arguments occur when the umps have rabbit ears and seek out the confrontation.

Having the umpires wired, and held accountable with fines and suspensions similar to the ones given the players, will help calm the waters.

The umpires are supposedly graded every year, but what is done with those who are at the bottom? Evidently not much as they return to show us their incompetence the next summer.

In the case of Joe West, he’s been a example of what is wrong with umpires. It is time the sport ejects him.


May 06

Mets Chat Room: Dodgers in town.

Two financially strapped franchises meet tonight at Citi Field when the Dodgers and Mets play.

Jon Niese  (1-4, 4.71) starts tonight for the Mets. He’s pitched well in his last two starts, giving up two earned runs in each. He lost his last start, Saturday, against the Phillies, giving up two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

No surprise in this, but he’s gotten three or fewer runs in all but one of his six starts.

If you’d like to talk during the game, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left.