Mar 05

Spring training opener: Mets vs. Nationals.

Dillon Gee will start tonight against Washington, followed by Matt Harvey, Miguel Batista, Daniel Herrera, Tim Byrdak and Frank Francisco.

Gee and Harvey should get two innings apiece. I think it was a good call to ease Harvey into things rather than give him a start right away. He’ll have enough adrenalin as it is, so there’s no need to push the envelope with him, especially since he doesn’t fit into this year’s rotation plans.

There will be opportunities later this spring where Harvey will get to start and be in the spotlight.

GEE: Gets the ball tonight.

Gee took advantage of his opportunity last summer caused by injuries to force his way into the rotation and at one time was the Mets’ most effective pitcher. If Johan Santana doesn’t pan out physically, and we’ll know more about him tomorrow, Gee could be in line for the Opening Day start.

Manager Terry Collins pitch projected closer Francisco earlier in the game where he’ll face tougher hitters to sharpen him for the season. Early on, the last few innings are played out by minor leaguers and prospects who won’t be on the major league rosters.

Normally, starters will throw roughly 30 innings during the spring while relievers will get from 10 to 15 innings. It is easier for relievers to get their innings through simulation and split squad games.

Here’s tonight’s Mets’ lineup:

Andres Torres, cf

Daniel Murphy, 2b

Justin Turner, 3b

Ike Davis, 1b

Jason Bay, lf

Lucas Duda, rf

Valentino Pascucci, DH

Josh Thole, c

Ruben Tejada, ss

LINEUP COMMENTS: Was curious to see who would bat second. Murphy has good bat control and patience at the plate that makes him the prime candidate. You can’t help but read in the following days about the leadoff spot. Let’s face it, regardless of who the Mets put out there he can’t live up to Jose Reyes.

ON DECK: Mets playing it cautious with David Wright.


Mar 05

Dykstra hitting rock bottom.

As a player, Lenny Dykstra had a fearless, out-of-control mentality. He played with a reckless streak that translated to stardom on the field.

DYKSTRA: No longer a boy of summer. (AP Photo)

However, the field and society are two different animals and Dykstra’s you-can’t-touch-me persona caught up with him after retirement and appears to have landed him in jail.

Dykstra was sentenced to three years in a California state prison in a grand theft auto case. Dykstra, using a phony business as a front, tried to lease and then sell high-end cars.

It makes you wonder how somebody who seemingly had it all, kicked away everything. You want to feel bad for Dykstra, but you can’t help but to think “what the hell was going on inside his head?”

Maybe he got caught up with the wrong people; maybe he was arrogant and stupid and didn’t think the rules applied to him; maybe bad investments caused mountainous debt and he panicked, turned to drugs and spun out of control.

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Mar 05

Keeping an eye on Pelfrey.

Of all the Mets’ pitchers, Mike Pelfrey might be the most intriguing because this summer could determine his future with the team. Another year like 2011, and he’ll be pitching elsewhere in 2013.

There are few things less watchable in sports than a spring training intrasquad game, but Pelfrey threw two hitless innings and said he was happy with his sinker. That’s the pitch he must refine this year.

There are younger pitchers who are ahead of Pelfrey in their development, but the glimpses he has flashed makes him worth waiting for … but for how long?

 

Mar 05

Judge rules against Mets …. will be appealed

As the Mets get ready to open their spring training schedule tonight – David Wright is not expected to play because of a strained rib cage muscle – the issue that will be the backdrop to their season moved centerstage this morning.

U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff ruled Mets owner Fred Wilpon must pay as much as $83 million because of the Ponzi scheme. The ruling also set a March 19 trial date for another $303 million.

This decision will be appealed, so the Wilpon’s aren’t hitting in the bottom of the ninth. At least not yet.

I don’t know how this will finish, but today only deepened the hole and put the Mets under more financial pressure. I’d bet the Mets would jump at the chance to settle for just $83 million, but this will drag on, their legal fees will mount and we can disregard any idea of being able to acquire talent at midseason if it is competitive.

Regardless of how today’s decision would have been, it would have been appealed. But, the negative ruling only reinforced the sentiment this will be a dark season.

On the positive side, Ike Davis is cleared. However, the prospect of him having a lengthy illness and Wright hurting already reinforced the Mets’ lack of depth. On that note, I am pleased Justin Turner will get the opportunity to back up Davis at first rather than disrupt Lucas Duda’s development in right field.

 

 

Mar 02

Mets need to hit the streets hawking tickets.

Over the last few days I was on the ESPN.com website and noticed ads for Yankees tickets. Even on the Mets site. I don’t see the Mets on the ESPN site advertising for tickets.

Actually, I don’t t see any ads by the Mets for tickets anywhere.

The Yankees will outdraw the Mets this year even without the ads, but they are still in there pitching for business while the team from Flushing does nothing.

Now is the time, when there’s the spring interest in baseball to promote, but I’m not seeing much of that – just more from the Yankees. The Mets need to be all over the newspapers, the Internet, radio and TV hawking their tickets.

You will undoubtedly see commercials for Mets tickets on SNY, but want to guess how much they’ll pay for them?

I know a lot of fans complain about ticket prices even though the Mets have dropped their rates. There is such a thing as supply and demand, and when the supply is high and demand is low, something must be done to get the buyer to act. That something is lower the prices again until the customer will act.

It is quite simple really, that in absence of a winning product on the field, the Mets must do something to generate interest in purchasing tickets.

I know what they are thinking: “If we lower the ticket price from $50 to $40 we are losing $10.’’ That’s not true, because if nobody is buying the ticket at $50 they are losing a chance at $50.

It is better to lower the price than to have the seat go empty. Of course, it is still better to put a competitive team on the field.