Aug 11

Liking how Collins handled Niese

After winning the first two games of this series, coming away with a split is definitely disappointing. It’s not as if the Mets had a realistic chance to catch the Braves for the wild-card, but after losing seven of their last 10 they are now 10.5 games behind Atlanta.

NIESE: Keeps on growing.

After another one-run loss this afternoon (that’s 18 on the season), they are headed to Arizona and San Diego, where it won’t be easy. The Mets are at their point of the season where the goals are fundamental, such as finishing above .500 and making value judgments on the future.

With the latter, I liked how Terry Collins handled Jonathan Niese this afternoon. Collins gave Niese 122 pitches worth of rope and stuck with him in the eighth when most managers would have been seduced by the pitch count and gone the conventional route.

Most managers would have yanked Niese after Cameron Maybin’s leadoff single, and definitely after the stolen base. Then, after an intentional walk and double steal, Jerry Manuel might have been on his second reliever.

With runners on second and third, Collins gave Niese a strong vote of confidence and allowed him to pitch to Aaron Cunningham. Perhaps it was a vote of non-confidence in the bullpen, but this was important to Niese’s development.

Cunningham grounded a ball to Ruben Tejada, who, instead of getting in front of the ball, tried to one-hand it. The ball went off the heel of his glove and Niese was on his way to becoming the hard-luck loser.

Even so, Niese got the ground ball he needed, indirectly rewarding Collins’ confidence.

A couple of years ago teams called the Mets asking for Niese and they wisely eschewed. It was one of Omar Minaya’s better decisions.

Niese still has a way to go, but this was definitely something to build on.

 

 

Aug 11

Today in Mets’ History: Carter hits 300th homer

On this day in 1988, Gary Carter hit his 300th career home run in a 9-6 victory at Chicago.

Carter finished that season with 11 homers and just 46 RBI, and was released after the 1989 season.

In five seasons with the Mets, Carter hit 89 homers with 349 RBI.

After leaving the Mets, Carter played single seasons for San Francisco, Los Angeles and retired as an Expo in 1992.

NOTE: Carter’s daughter, Kimmy Bloemers reports his brain tumors have improved, but the condition remains inoperable.

 

Aug 11

Mets line-up vs. Padres

There are many glaring stats that help define a season. For the Mets, their 25-31 record at home is one of them. This was supposed to be a homestand where they could make up some ground, but they are a dismal 3-5.

Here’s the line-up that will try to get it done today:

Scott Hairston, CF

Justin Turner, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Jason Bay, LF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Nick Evans, RF

Ronny Paulino, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

Jon Niese, LP

 

Aug 11

Mets have disappointing flashback last night

Just when you think the Mets turn the corner, they stub their toe.

After raving about their inspired play and fundamental execution the past few days, I should have known last night was coming. It was a virtual lock.

DICKEY: In a 1-10 rut at home.

A real stinker on so many fronts.

R.A. Dickey can’t win at home and his disappointing season continued last night, and it began early. He also didn’t help himself with his defense. I like the intangibles Dickey brings and his heart, but realistically he’s a No. 5 starter at best. But, he’s ranked higher than that with the Mets, which tells you a lot about their rotation.

I like that Dickey is a stand-up guy, and he showed that again after the game.

“Just a real sloppy game for us, collectively,” Dickey said. “And I need to own up myself. I made a poor throw in the second that led to two runs and I had an opportunity to drive in a run with the bases loaded and nobody out and I didn’t get that done. So, look no further than this locker right here because I could have left that game very easily winning.”

Well, that might be a stretch considering the other meltdowns. When you get 15 hits and receive four walks, you must score more than five runs. Thirteen left on will cost you every time.

I don’t know what was worse, the Mets’ inability to hit in the clutch or Bobby Parnell, who was raked again last night. One game, he’s light out, and the next he’s lit up. So much is expected of him, but he’s not getting it done.

And, there was Ruben Tejada’s non-slide, which can’t be excused.

Even so, the Mets made a late surge, which means they didn’t lay down, and that’s been one of the positives about this team.

On the injury front, Angel Pagan left the game with back spasms, but said he hopes to play this afternoon. I wouldn’t count on it.

 

Aug 10

Doing things the right way.

Baseball is such a thinking man’s sport for the player. Each pitch is the start of a play and every player on the field should know what to do if the ball is hit to him, every pitcher should know what he wants to throw, and every hitter should know his objective.

Last night, Lucas Duda’s primary objective if he couldn’t get the run home was to make a productive out and move the runner into scoring position. Perhaps Duda wasn’t comfortable with the pitching match-up; he knows his limitations better than anyone. Bunting wasn’t the sexy play, but it put the Mets in position to win.

It was a great idea. It was the total team thing to do. I like his thinking and hope he always maintains that attitude.

The Mets are in position offensively where they need to manufacture runs, which is exactly what Duda accomplished. It doesn’t matter if he is the No. 4 hitter or not, he had a specific job to do and did it, which was to advance the runner to third.

There are so many situations where the No. 4 hitter would either strike out or make a non-productive out instead of advancing the runner. Yes, Duda has been hot lately, but his frame of mind in suggesting the bunt was that was his best chance of getting the job done.

There are so many statistics in baseball, many of them worthless. But there should be a “get the job done,’’ stat for offense, and it would entail, a) getting on base, b) advancing a runner with a productive out, and c) driving in a run. Basically, it should entail the percentage of times a hitter accomplishes his job and does one of the three.

I guarantee if such a stat existed and was applied to each hitter in the lineup, the team that executed at a higher rate would win the majority of the time.

The Mets, as presently constructed, aren’t an abundantly talented team. As their record indicates, they don’t overwhelm. Fundamentals should be their foundation; their mantra. Maybe that sounds boring, but executing them wins games, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

So, great for Duda. Let’s hope all his teammates were taking notes.