Aug 19

Mets begin tough stretch tonight

The Mets open a difficult stretch tonight with three games against Milwaukee, followed by three each against Philadelphia and Atlanta. They are three games below .500, but could be in the NL East basement by the time the month is over.

Considering how they’ve played most of the season, it would be a shame.

Tonight’s Mets’ lineup looks resembles one of those spring training batting orders sent to Fort Myers. David Wright, Angel Pagan and Jose Thole are the only Opening Day starters in tonight’s lineup behind Mike Pelfrey against the Brewers.

Nothing quite says rebuilding like tonight’s lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF

Willie Harris, 2B

David Wright, 1B

Lucas Duda, 1B

Mike Baxter, RF

Jason Pridie, LF

Josh Thole, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

Mike Pelfrey, RP

Looking at tonight’s lineup, one can envision it being on the field a lot next year, minus Harris, Baxter and Pridie.

The frequently banged up Justin Turner will sit tonight for the fourth time in seven games. Also, sitting is Jason Bay, who is on an 0-for-20 slide.

Meanwhile, Jose Reyes continues to rehab his strained left hamstring. He’s running straight forward, but not cutting corners or going full throttle.

It isn’t likely Reyes will be activated when he’s eligible, Aug. 23.

 

Aug 15

Decisions to be made as Mets begin series in San Diego.

Lucas Duda is at first base tonight in San Diego, but manager Terry Collins said that might change soon and he could be moved to right field for the rest of the season.

With the Mets skidding and now four games under .500 and 11.5 games behind in the wild-card hunt with four teams to jump and two games from the cellar, what was expected is being realized and we’re on the slow slide into winter.

It’s time the Mets’ decisions are made with 2012 in mind.

A couple of decisions involve Duda and Ike Davis. The expectation is Davis will play first base next season, but his ankle is a question. The current stance is to wait several weeks before deciding on whether microfracture surgery will be necessary.

The injury has not improved, and as with Carlos Beltran, there’s a strong possibility surgery will eventually be needed. The healing time for this surgery, as it was with Beltran, is often lengthy and waiting another month only puts him behind that much in his rehab.

That’s why the surgery decision should be made sooner rather than later.

If Davis comes back he’ll play first, the logical place to play Duda would be in right field. Duda has not played there enough to present a big enough window to prove he’s that answer.

That’s why, with Nick Evans capable of playing first, Duda should be in the outfield for as much as possible.

If Duda busts out in right – as Daniel Murphy did in left a couple of years ago – the Mets would want to know that know that before starting their off-season shopping.

The Mets are also in position now to make decisions on five roster slots. Jason Bay, Chris Capuano, D.J. Carrasco, Willie Harris and Angel Pagan have already cleared waivers, meaning they can be traded to any team until the end of the month. Teams routinely put players on waivers to ascertain interest. It also indicates a willingness by the Mets to deal these players.

Bay, we know, because of his gagging contract, isn’t going anywhere. However, Capuano and Pagan could provide value to a contender. Based on their performance so far, the Mets must have a sense of what they want to do next year. If there’s limited interest in bringing them back, then they should get what they can for them.

 

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 02

Tonight’s lineup vs. Marlins.

Maybe Terry Collins is giving Daniel Murphy a day to think over his defense, but he’s not in the lineup for tonight’s game against Florida.

Murphy’s brain freeze set up Mike Stanton’s game-winning grand slam. It also served notice Murphy remains a defensive liability and a man without a position.

GM Sandy Alderson said Murphy will not play winter ball to work on a position in hope of him mastering things during spring training.

Well, good luck with that.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Jose Reyes, SS

Justin Turner, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Scott Hairston, RF

Jason Bay, LF

Angel Pagan, CF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Mike Nickeas, C

Chris Capuano, LP

 

Jul 31

Mets already winners at deadline.

The Mets have already done their heavy lifting for this year’s trade deadline when they unloaded Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million 2012 option and dealt Carlos Beltran to San Francisco for the Giants’ top prospect Zack Wheeler,

Even should Wheeler never make it with the Mets, GM Sandy Alderson has emerged as one of the winners at this summer’s trade market. In ridding themselves of Rodriguez’s option, they’ve gained $14.5 million worth of payroll flexibility (they would have had a $3.5 million buyout had he stayed and not made 55 appearances to finish games.)

That’s not nearly enough to re-sign Jose Reyes, but it does sweeten the pot and offer money for other areas of need, say the bullpen or another starter.

The Mets have additional pieces they could deal a contender, such as Jason Isringhausen, Tim Brydak and Angel Pagan, but it appears they will keep a pat hand for another month and continue with the objective of playing aggressive baseball.

The odds are long for a wild-card, but should the Mets slide further away, they can always deal those chips in a waiver trade. For now, the suspenseful part of their summer is over, they’ve dealt Beltran. The rest of the season is to build on the good feelings they’ve generated for being competitive and savor the victories in the moves they did make.