May 01

Kirk Nieuwenhuis Move Might Have Cost Mets

Of course, it crossed my mind. Left field in Houston is a tough place to play, perhaps one of the toughest in the National League. So, when Jed Lowrie’s pop up fell between Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Ruben Tejada, it immediately raised the inevitable speculation the Mets’ newest left fielder felt awkward because it was his first time in left on this level.

As a centerfielder, Nieuwenhuis played aggressively, but on this play he appeared tentative.

“It was just a ‘tweener’ ball that I should have caught,” Nieuwenhuis said. “It dropped, and that’s unfortunate. (R.A. Dickey) was pitching a great game and I just made a mistake.”

Neither Nieuwenhuis nor manager Terry Collins blamed the mistake on the former playing a new position, but it’s on the table. There is always an adjustment period in playing a different position.

Nieuwenhuis stayed in the leadoff spot and delivered a game-tying, two-run single, but his offensive night was mixed because he was also picked off first base.

ON DECK: Reviewing April’s fast start.

Apr 30

Mets Should Leave Kirk Nieuwenhuis Alone

The was a concern when Kirk Nieuwenhuis was brought up how he would adjust to the major leagues. Well, so far he’s been doing just fine. It is too soon to say he’s made it, but he’s fielded center field as well as Angel Pagan ever did and he’s been consistent at the plate.

So far, he gets on base and makes all the plays.

TORRES: Put him in left.

Now, with Andres Torres set to come off the disabled list for tonight’s game in Houston, the Mets want to slot him back into center and move Nieuwenhuis to left field, a position he’s never played.

I don’t see the reason.

Torres is a veteran with some left field experience. He should be the one to go to left field. Why disrupt Nieuwenhuis’ rookie season? Why make him go through another adjustment period? He’s part of the Mets’ future, while Torres is a stop gap player at best.

What has Torres done for the Mets to warrant such special treatment?

We don’t know how good Nieuwenhuis can be, but we already have an idea of what the Mets can expect from Torres, and it isn’t much. It might be different if Neiuwenhuis were playing poorly and the Mets weren’t winning, but that isn’t the case.

Leave Nieuwenhuis alone.

 

Apr 30

Wondering If Johan Santana Regrets Signing With Mets

This time, it was the Mets’ bullpen that betrayed Johan Santana. The Mets finally scored runs for him, but the bullpen blew a four-run lead in the eighth inning with Tim Byrdak serving a grand slam homer to Todd Helton.

Another no-decision for Santana, who is still looking for his first victory since September 2010.

SANTANA: Comes up empty again.

I know Santana doesn’t regret the money, but there are times such as yesterday when I wonder if he regrets not staying with Minnesota, where he had a chance to go to the World Series, or try the free-agent market where he could have gotten the money and a better chance to win.

The Mets were still a contender when they acquired him, but there were major cracks in the foundation. When Santana agreed to the deal, did he think about those things?

Santana has pitched well with the Mets when healthy, and to be fair, injuries could have happened anywhere. But, there have been too many games when the offense disappeared or the bullpen imploded to make him wonder if he did the right thing.

“We won. and that’s all I care about,” Santana said after yesterday’s game.

But, if winning is the only thing that matters, there must be times when he wonders if he made the right decision as there have been so many games since joining the Mets when he came away empty.

Santana is 0-2 with three no-decisions despite a 2.25 ERA this year. He’s given up only six earned runs in 18 innings, with four of them coming in one start.

He pitched to a 2.89 ERA in 2010 before the injury, but with nine no-decisions. Eight of those were games decided by two runs or less, and seven by one run.

In 2009, eight games he started that the Mets lost were decided by two runs, with five by one run.

There were 11 no-decisions in 2008, with the Mets winning six of those games. The Mets lost nine of the games he started by two runs or less, with six by one run.

All those numbers reminds me of the Peanuts cartoon strip when Charlie Brown, after being told of his lousy pitching record, screams “Tell your statistics to shut up!”

Trouble is, that can’t be done. The stats are louder than ever.

Apr 29

Mets, Dillon Gee Show Spunk In Denver

Does anybody remember the old “Mary Tyler Moore” show, when Lou Grant tells Mary: “You know what you have Mary? You have spunk.” Then after a pause, adds, “I hate spunk.”

Well, I happen to love it, and it was so enjoyable to see the Mets show it yesterday at Colorado after getting spanked the night before.

Dillon Gee gave them seven innings when the bullpen needed a breather, and Lucas Duda and David Wright flexed at the plate. Wright always does in the Rocky Mountains.

It was one Saturday afternoon, sure. But, it followed a horrid Friday night. Several times this year they’ve responded from bad days and bad series with a strong effort.

The Mets are a building team and one must take positive signs when you see them. This was such a time.

Apr 28

Mets Need Big Things From Dillon Gee

With Mike Pelfrey on the shelf – he’ll see Dr. James Andrews on Monday – and watching Chris Schwinden and the bullpen get torched last night, the Mets must get strong performances from Dillon Gee, not only this afternoon, but all the time.

GEE: Mets need more from him.

Gee, the Mets’ fourth starter, was brought up early last year and won his first seven starts, but hitters caught up with him and he finished 13-6. In his last start against the Giants, Gee gave the Mets six innings, but was hit for seven runs. Not a good tradeoff.

Last night’s four errors and an 11-run inning that overshadowed Scott Hairston’s cycle was one of those freaky things that happen. The defense can’t afford lapses like those because the Mets don’t have the firepower or the bullpen depth to overcome them.

Mets pitchers are typically working roughly six innings, which means the bullpen gets three. It got more last night. The more a pen is used the less effective it becomes over the long haul.

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