May 11

May 11.10: Chat Room, Game #33 vs. Nationals: Trying to jumpstart offense against Olson.

The Mets will be trying to get their offense on track tonight against the Washington Nationals as they seek to break a two-game home losing streak.

Jon Niese (1-1, 3.60) goes against the Nationals’ Scott Olson in a duel of left-handers. Niese coming off a no-decision in his last start when he gave up four runs and a career-high 12 hits in six innings last Wednesday in an extra-inning loss at Cincinnati.

Niese is 0-2 with a 3.79 ERA in seven starts at Citi Field, but has never faced Washington.

The Mets have given Niese 28 runs in his six starts, but 15 came in two of them so they’ve been all or nothing with him.

The Mets’ stagnant offense of late will try to get it going against a familiar patsy in Olson, who after his first career win against them has lost six straight with a 5.22 ERA in nine starts.

Here’s tonight’s line-up

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Jon Niese, LP

NOTE: I have class tonight and will be gone until nine. I hope you stop by and post to keep the room moving until then. Thanks. John

May 11

May 11.10: Wright’s woes and tonight’s line-up

David Wright was hitting .324 in 426 at-bats prior to his beaning last season and is batting .253 in 217 at-bats since. (Source: ESPN)

He’s also striking out a lot more times.

Wright is batting .277 on 31 hits in 112 at-bats with 42 strikeouts. If those numbers were reversed and he had 42 hits with 31 strikeouts, his average would be .375. Another way of saying it is he’s striking out 37 percent of the time.

In his first full four years, Wright struck out an average of 115 times a season. Last season, Wright struck out 140 times and he is on pace to strike out 188 times this year.

Last season, Wright exceeded his career average by 25 times. If he keeps his pace, he would exceed his pre-2009 career average by 73.

A strikeout is a wasted at bat.

That’s 73 less times he put the ball in play. In keeping with his career average, that would be 23 more hits. And, what about those other 50 at-bats? That’s 50 less chances of a productive at-bat, such as a sacrifice fly, chance to advance the runner into scoring position, chance for a walk, or chance to reach on an error.

**********

Ryota Igarashi is close to beginning a minor league rehab assignment on his left hamstring, said assistant general manager John Ricco.

Igarahsi is threw off the mound without discomfort Monday.

Igarashi had a 1.35 ERA in seven appearances prior to the injury and was moving into the eighth-inning set-up role.

Significantly, getting a healthy Igarashi back would reduce the work loads of Fernando Nieve and Pedro Feliciano.

*********

Tonight’s line-up

No changes, so it is safe to assume Jerry Manuel doesn’t believe the offense has hit rock bottom, yet.

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Jon Niese, LP

May 09

May 9.10: Chat Room, Game #31 vs. Giants: Mother’s Day edition.

Happy Mother’s Day all. Greetings to all moms. Enjoy your day.

The Mets go for the sweep today of the Giants, which would be their tenth straight win at Citi Field. It will be Oliver Perez against Tim Lincecum, perhaps the game’s best pitcher.

After a dismal start, the Mets are only a game out of first place causing me to wonder where they might be if Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur were hitting at all.

Bay has been getting better at-bats since the team returned home and has driven in first-inning runs in the last two games. Francoeur, after a hot streak to open the season, hasn’t been the same since the 20-inning game in St. Louis.

Francoeur admits to lunging and swinging at pitches outside the zone. He doesn’t have the same patience he had at the start of the season.

Things won’t get easier today against Lincecum.

Luis Castillo is out of the lineup with a bruised left heel and will be replaced by Alex Cora. Rod Barajas returns behind the plate.

Barajas made an interesting comment the other day about Perez, saying he fights himself too much and too quickly when things start to go against him. Perez is the kind of guy who needs a lot of stroking.

Here’s the lineup for the 17-13 Mets behind Perez:

Angel Pagan, CF
Alex Cora, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Oliver Perez, LP

May 07

May 7.10: Chat Room, Game #29 vs. Giants: Limping home.

For the offensively challenged Mets, the Giants aren’t the team they’d like to see this weekend at Citi Field. Not with their pitching anyway.

Jonathan Sanchez against Mike Pelfrey tonight figures to be significant to the Mets on several levels, beginning with questions about the durability of the latter’s shoulder.

Pelfrey complained of tightness after being shelled last Saturday in Philadelphia, but he was cleared after a MRI and light bullpen session Wednesday.

The Mets will miss Matt Cain and Barry Zito this weekend, but will get Tim Lincecum Sunday.
The 17-10 Giants are fresh off a sweep of the Florida Marlins in which their rotation’s ERA was a sparkling 2.57 during the series.

The Mets limp home off a 2-4 road trip a 9-1 homestand. During that homestand Mets pitchers registered a 1.83 ERA and struck out 62-59 innings.

A major storyline during the last homestand was Jerry Manuel juggling the batting order by dropping Jose Reyes to third ahead of Jason Bay.

Despite dismal showings by both Reyes and Bay in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, Manuel will keep that line-up. Bay is hitless in his last 12 at-bats and has one homer and nine RBI on the season.

Here’s the line-up behind Pelfrey:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Ike Davis, 1B
Rod Barajas, C
Mike Pelfrey, RP

May 04

May 4.10: Chat Room, Game #27 at Reds: Looking for a bat.

The Mets have gone from streaking to sputtering in a matter of days, losing three straight after winning eight in a row. When the Mets speak of consistency, this isn’t what they had in mind.

They’ll try to right themselves tonight in Cincinnati against Bronson Arroyo, who has beaten them in his last four starts. John Maine, coming off a good start against the Dodgers, will go for the Mets. Maine (1-1, 7.15) is 0-3 with a 9.88 ERA in three career starts against the Reds. As far as trends go, this is not a good one.

The Mets’ immediate problem is offense. They have none. They were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position last night, and left runners at least on second in the sixth, seventh and 11th innings. Nobody is consistently hitting with power.

Here’s the line-up for the Mets (14-12) behind Maine:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
John Maine, RHP

NOTE: I’ve got my class tonight and won’t be back until 9. See you then.