Jul 16

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #88; second half begins.

METS CHAT ROOM

METS CHAT ROOM

One of the major storylines last offseason was the Mets’ decision to give Oliver Perez three years instead of four years for Derek Lowe.

The pitchers face each other tonight in Atlanta as the second half of the season begins. My confidence level in Perez is about zero. There’s just something about him that screams bust.

PEREZ: Who knows what to expect?

PEREZ: Who knows what to expect?


The Mets are within striking distance in the NL East. Teams have come back from a lot greater holes in far less time. The Mets know that from blowing a seven-game lead with 17 to play in 2007. It has been done, but rarely by a team with as many glaring deficiencies as these Mets.

1. Perez is only one of three major concerns in the rotation. There’s John Maine’s shoulder, which nobody really knows will be ready. Plus, Livan Hernandez has been hit hard lately, so the bloom is off his fast start.

2. Don’t expect Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran back before the end of the month. Carlos Delgado will be back sometime in August, but by that time the competitive part of the season might be ove.

3. The bullpen started off so well, but has been worn down by the workload. Sean Green and Bobby Parnell have run hot-and-cold. Pedro Feliciano is being run into the ground and JJ Putz is on the DL. The way things are going, Billy Wagner, if he returns, won’t be a luxury but a necessity.

4. There’s been little consistent power production. It’s hard to believe Gary Sheffield leads the team in homers. Jeff Francoeur might add something, but the hitter they really need is Wright to step up.

5. The farm system is barren as we’ve frequently heard before. There are few major-league ready players to come up to help the Mets, which also means there are limited trade options. The Mets will not make a blockbuster kind of deal at the trade deadline.

Here’s the line-up that will take a crack at Derek Lowe:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Alex Cora, SS
Brian Schneider, C
Oliver Perez, LP

Perez (2-2, 8.78 ERA) will make his second start for the Mets since coming off the disabled list. Perez earned the victory against the Dodgers, but threw only five innings and gave up seven walks. Perez had no record against the Braves last year, but had a 3.72 ERA in 19 1/3 innings against them.

Jul 12

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #87; first half ends.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The Mets close their three-game series today against the Reds, and mercifully, the first half of what has been a disappointing season.

There have been several storylines to the season, most notably the run of injuries that claimed Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, John Maine and JJ Putz for long stretches. Also hurt have been Alex Cora, Gary Sheffield, Oliver Perez and Brian Schneider.

Frankly, the Mets are lucky to be as close as they are, and that’s because the Phillies haven’t caught fire.

Still, even with the injuries, the Mets have not played well overall. Their starting pitching has been erratic, often leaving early and causing the bullpen to be overused. And, the hitting with runners in scoring position has been poor and there’s little power.

Maybe Beltran and Reyes are back by the end of the month, but the longer they and Maine are out, the more pressure there is on GM Omar Minaya to make a trade, but there are little chips to deal.

This is a team that is slowly seeing its season fade away.

Here’s the line-up behind Mike Pelfrey today:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Brian Schneider, C
Alex Cora, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP

Jul 11

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #86; Francoeur arrives.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

It is thought a change of scenery will snap Jeff Francoeur out of his funk, and he’s also a believer, saying the energy of the city might be the trigger he needs.

“I’m excited to be in New York, I’ve always enjoyed playing here,’’ Francoeur said. “I’ve always loved the city, so to finally get this chance, I’m excited.’’

One of the first calls he received came from Tom Glavine, who, despite the venom he took from Mets fans, endorsed them and the city to Francoeur.

From Glavine: “Make the most of it, if you play hard, hustle, and do things right, the fans will love you.’’

FRANCOEUR: Mets need his spark.

FRANCOEUR: Mets need his spark.

Francoeur said that’s him.

“I like to think I’m that kind of player, who gets dirty and plays the game the right way,’’ Francoeur said. “I’m 25 years old, and I feel like my best years are ahead of me… and I look forward to driving in runs, and throwing people out.’’

Francoeur starts in right tonight.

Here’s the line-up behind Johan Santana:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Alex Cora, SS
Johan Santana, LP

Santana is 9-7, but the Mets are 2-5 in his last seven starts.

Jul 10

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #85; big help isn’t coming.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The Mets limp into their final series prior to the All-Star break without any concrete idea as to when Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran will be activated from the disabled list.

Carlos Delgado, if he comes back from a hip injury, won’t return until mid to late August.

The Mets need both pitching and hitting help, and the primetime names are Roy Halladay, Matt Holliday and Adam Dunn. The Mets aren’t likely get any of them because of their preference to hold on to top prospects Brad Holt, Jennry Mejia, Fernando Martinez and Ike Davis.

HALLADAY: Not coming to Mets.

HALLADAY: Not coming to Mets.

The Phillies, meanwhile, according to reports, are willing to deal top pitching prospects Kyle Drabek and Jason Knapp.

Philadelphia appears the frontrunner because of its willingness to part with young talent and being in the National League. The Blue Jays don’t want to trade Halladay within the division to the Yankees or Red Sox.

The Nationals say they won’t deal Dunn for the two-part reason or needing some gate attraction and having a reasonable salary of $10 million for next year. Vernon Wells can be had for a song, but nobody wants him because he has close to a $100 million balance on his contract.

It will be interesting to see what kind of game the Mets get out of Fernando Nieve tonight. After three strong starts after being called up, Nieve has hit the skids.