Apr 18

Steady Dickey To Face Braves Today

Mets fans and the media have been critical of former GM Omar Minaya for some of his moves, but to be fair he had some good acquisitions and R.A. Dickey is one of them.

DICKEY: Reliable

By reputation, knuckleball pitchers are supposed to be erratic, but Dickey has proven to be the opposite. Once considered to be a journeyman, but now cornerstone in the Mets’ rotation, Dickey will be going after his 15th straight quality start in a few hours against the Braves. Dickey has given the Mets seven innings in 15 of his last 24 starts.

Dickey is coming off a stellar performance at Philadelphia in which he gave up a run in seven innings. The team record for quality starters – defined as giving up three runs in six innings – is 21 by Dwight Gooden in 1985.

The Mets’ rotation has been tattered in recent seasons, but for the most part he has always kept them in the game and we can’t ask for much more.

Dickey will work with a revamped lineup for today’s game with Ronny Cedeno giving Ruben Tejada a day off at shortstop and Kirk Nieuwenhuis leading off.

Here’s the lineup:

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf

Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Ike Davis, 1b
Jason Bay, lf
Lucas Duda, rf
Josh Thole, c
Ronny Cedeno, ss
R.A. Dickey, rhp

 

Apr 18

Santana Felt Fine

After the shortest stint of his career, Johan Santana said he felt fine. Obviously, that was the first thought seeing him walk to the dugout in the second inning after recording just four outs.

SANTANA: A dejected Santana walks off

It still is this morning.

Since Santana returned this spring, he and the Mets responded after every start with the clipped comment of waiting to see how he feels the next day and following his throw day,

That doesn’t change for me now.

Last night, he said, “I felt fine.”

I want to hear him say that in August and September.

Santana has pitched brilliantly in his first two starts, but his velocity wasn’t where it was before. Last night, his command was off. Sure, there is concern. There has to be.

Let’s face it, he’s coming off a serious shoulder surgery few pitchers have successfully recovered from before, so you’ll excuse me if I don’t think everything is fine.

 

Apr 17

Mets Aim To Stay Hot With Santana

David Wright, Andres Torres and Jason Bay have all missed games because of injuries, but for the most part manager Terry Collins has resisted any urge to crazy juggle his line-up, something Jerry Manuel did on a consistent basis.

Johan Santana will make his third start of the season tonight. Here’s the line-up behind him:

Ruben Tejada, ss
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Ike Davis, 1b
Jason Bay, lf
Lucas Duda, rf
Josh Thole, c
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf
Johan Santana, lhp

 

Apr 17

Seven Positive Signs For The Mets

Earlier today I posed the question if the Mets were for real. Ten games is not enough of a window to jump on the bandwagon, but it is big enough to sense that there’s something positive going on.

WRIGHT: Off to a good start. (AP)

1) David Wright is stroking the ball with authority. Even after missing several games he’s been consistently on, driving the ball to the opposite field which has always been a benchmark of success for him. He’s been swinging at good pitches and hasn’t been chasing the down-and-away junk. He also has been holding his ground when the pitchers have worked him inside.

2) They are 7-3, with all their wins in the division. They’ve won a series in Philadelphia and won last night in Atlanta, places which haven’t always been kind to them. I took a look at a sportsbook review and the odds on the Mets are getting better everyday. This is as positive a sign as any.

3) Johan Santana, who will work tonight, has given them two strong starts. A strong Santana give the Mets a sense of confidence and credibility. Now, if they’d only score some runs for him.

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Apr 17

Mets Come Up Big Again

Sometimes, the turning point of a game isn’t always in the late innings.¬†Dillon Gee was in trouble early last night. The Braves had the bases loaded in the second with one out. ¬†Gee was clearly struggling and this was the point in the game where the Braves could have taken control, had a big inning and gotten into the Mets’ bullpen early.

GEE: Stellar last night.

However, Gee, showing the composure that was the foundation of his surge last year, got Jack Wilson on a RBI grounder and struck out Tommy Hanson.

The Mets got of the inning cheaply and backed Gee with homers from Ike Davis and another from Jason Bay, the latter’s second in three games. Bay also made a HR robbing catch of Wilson in the fifth.

Pitching, power and defense. It was as complete a game as the Mets have played in a long time.

The biggest things to take out of the game was Gee’s poise, and signs Davis and Bay were breaking out of slumps.

Are the Mets for real? Ten games in at 7-3, it is too soon to call, but you have to like how they are playing, and especially beating teams in their division. You think back and wonder how they let those games against Washington get away.

Considering the expectations, there might be the sense they are playing over their heads, but for the most part the pitching has been splendid and that puts their record into context.

The one thing I am taking from this team right now is that they are fun to watch. I’m not watching with the thought of how are they going to blow this, but with wonderment of their potential.

ON DECK: Are the Mets for real?