Sep 08

Three weeks from today ….

Three weeks from today the Mets will either be cleaning out their lockers at Shea or working out in preparation for the Division Series. I’m still thinking it will be the latter.

But, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t think there wasn’t anything to worry about with this team. It was imperative they win last night and they did, with Johan Santana pitching one of his most important games as a Met. Maybe themost important.

Here’s what I see as the most important issues down the stretch.

1. Coping with last season. Last night was a start, but don’t forget the collapse including stretches of bad ball against teams with losing records. They can’t afford to let up against teams with losing records, such as Washington and Atlanta. I’m not convinced they have the killer instinct. This week should tell a lot.

2. The starting pitching is three deep with Santana, Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez. Pedro Martinez can’t be relied on for more than five innings, and lately they haven’t been a good five innings.

3. The bullpen has been suspect all season. Having something definitive on Billy Wagner might help Jerry Manuel define roles, but how can they be better off without their best reliever?

4. Hitting with runners in scoring position has also been an issue. Last night was tougher than it needed to be. With pitching issues, more runs are always needed. David Wright, in particular, has been in a funk.

Sep 07

Mets Chat Room, Game #2: Needing Santana.

Johan Santana needs to earn his money tonight. The Mets have dropped two straight to the Phillies, and if they lose tonight they are tied for first and don’t think for a moment thoughts of the collapse won’t resurface, if they haven’t already.

“That’s why you have a Johan,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “We’re not quite clicking like we were. It’s unfortunate come home after a good road trip and not be clicking.

“Hopefully, Johan can keep us in the game.”

I would hope the expectations are higher than that.

Sep 07

Wagner update: Setback

Billy Wagner said he needs to keep throwing to get the rust off, but “eventually you have to get thrown into the fire.’’

He was burned today, leaving with pain in his left elbow during a bullpen session. He’ll be re-examined tomorrow, but with the season fading away, this isn’t good news.

Even with Wagner coming back next year, should the Mets be thinking about adding a closer in the offseason?

Sep 07

Game #1 wrap/Phillies 6, Mets 2: Martinez’s tank on empty.

Jerry Manuel went out of his way not to throw Pedro Martinez under the bus, but said enough to let it be known there’s not much left in his tank.

“With a couple of plays there, he might not have given up as many runs,’’ Manuel said. “He could have gotten out of there with maybe three runs.’’

Fine, that’s a 3-2 loss.

Manuel said Martinez’s velocity was better, but it still isn’t where it should be.

“I think this is what he has,’’ Manuel said of Martinez’s stuff. “I think he’s able to pitch with what he has. I think his instincts are enough at the major league level where he can complete.’’

 Maybe so, but that’s also if the defense is there and the offense produces something.

“With two runs in 18 innings, we wouldn’t be able to beat anybody,’’ Manuel said.

Boil it down and Manuel is saying everything has to be perfect for Martinez to win, and who’s comfortable with that?