Apr 24

Let’s not get carried away ….

The assumption is Johan Santana will pitch well and the Mets should beat the Washington Nationals tonight. That’s always the assumption when the best pitcher in the major leagues faces its worst team.

The Mets come limping back into town losers of four straight games, the last three in St. Louis. The common denominator in the four games was the inability to hit with runners in scoring position and bad starting pitching. The only decent start came last Sunday against Milwaukee by Nelson Figueroa and he’s no longer in the organization.

As a stopper, Santana is expected to pitch well, but let’s not assume all is well with your heroes even should he throw a shutout.

Even should they sweep the Nationals, it won’t mean all is well. They need to go through the rotation two, three times getting solid starts to allay those concerns.

What we have with the 6-9 Mets is a developing trend. It obviously can’t continue at this rate, but even so, that’s still too small a sample to assume they should write off the season.

Apr 23

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #15; Can somebody please go seven?

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Sooner or later, it won’t be early anymore. Baseball seasons tend to get old quickly, like your old college roommate after at the reunion.

Damn, he was young and spry and had hair. He’s gotten so old.

Pitching tends to age even the best teams having pennant aspirations. The Mets are now Johan Santana and pocket change, with any of the four capable of going either way. That’s right, the rest of the rotation has morphed into Oliver Perez. Good one night; bad the next.

We have a pop group: Johan and the Four Coin Flips.

HERNANDEZ: Mets need him to go long.

HERNANDEZ: Mets need him to go long.


Can you honestly say you know Livan Hernandez will pitch lights out this afternoon? Nope. You count on five and hope he doesn’t implode the third time through the lineup.

John Maine? Well, he started out on the rocks last night and settled down late. By that time, the Mets’ listless offense had called it a night. Coming off shoulder surgery, Maine isn’t right and there’s no timetable that says he’ll be a 15-game winner again.

Mike Pelfrey? He’s been sandpaper smooth so far, and now he’ll try it again this weekend. He has facing the Washington Nationals going for him.

Yes, the Mets addressed their bullpen, but did precious little to shore up their starters, who barely got five these days save Santana.

The keys to the collapses the last two years have been the bullpen, specifically, over work of the pen. The Mets are already averaging 3.2 innings per game, which would be 514.2 innings on the season.

We’ll see how that 2.06 bullpen ERA stands up with that workload.

Somewhere down the road – three months at the trade deadline – the Mets might be confronted with some hard choices if they are to pick up a viable arm. That might mean losing Jon Niese or Daniel Murphy or F-Mart. It might mean losing two. It could mean all three if somebody like Jake Peavy or Roy Halladay are on the other end.

I was on a radio talk show last night in St. Louis and was asked if the Mets were good enough to win the World Series. Even with their dismal production with runners in scoring position they are if their pitching improves.

If it doesn’t, well, then it’s another long winter.

Apr 22

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #14; Maine needs to turn it on.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

John Maine throws tonight for the Mets. I say throw, because he hasn’t done a whole lot of pitching lately. He’ll start strong, then unravel in Oliver Perez fashion.
MAINE: Needs consistency.

MAINE: Needs consistency.


Tonight its the Cardinals, who came from four runs down, and as the recipients of Daniel Murphy’s fielding blunders and Carlos Beltran’s decision not to slide at the plate, beat the Mets. It was arguably their worst game of the year.

With Maine on the mound, the Mets can’t afford another flawed performance. They have to do something they haven’t for most of the season, which is produce with RISP because there’s no promise Maine will be able to shut them down.

Apr 22

Don’t give up on Murphy

MURPHY: Mets should maintain the course.

MURPHY: Mets should maintain the course.

Daniel Murphy had one of those games last night, and because of it, the Mets lost another game. It was the second time this season a Murphy fielding blunder directly cost the Mets.

If you’re Jerry Manuel, it’s tempting to sit Murphy tonight, “to clear his head,” as the manager would put it.

That would be a mistake.

The Mets made a sizable commitment to Murphy, and the timing of a benching could send the bad message of a lack of confidence. The bottom line is Murphy had considerable defensive holes in his game that will only close with playing time. The worst thing that could happen is for him to believe his manager lacks confidence in him.

So, what to do?

From the seventh inning on, unless Murphy is tearing it up at the plate, out he comes for defense. It stays that way until he substantially improved.

I’m not saying Murphy will cost the Mets the pennant, but look at it this way, he’s already cost them two games and each of the last two seasons they missed by only one.

And, after the season, he should go to Arizona to work on his defense, both in left field and first base.