Aug 29

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #130; Parnell continues audition.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

With the competitive aspect of the season long since over, the pitching-hungry Mets continue their audition of Bobby Parnell for a starter’s role next year as he makes his fifth start today against the Chicago Cubs.

Manager Jerry Manuel said he’s looking for presence and if Parnell has the tools and make-up to be a starter. He has the fastball, clocked in the mid-to-upper 90s, but has trouble with his secondary pitches. As a reliever going one inning or facing one hitter, Parnell can get by with his fastball. However, he can’t make it three times through the batting order with one pitch.

Parnell (3-6, 5.08) has had a rough go of it, going 1-3 with an 8.82 ERA as a starter. That included giving up five runs in five innings in his last start.

PARNELL: Getting every chance.

PARNELL: Getting every chance.


With four of the five starters on the Opening Day roster gone – Johan Santana, John Maine and Oliver Perez are on the DL and Livan Hernandez was released – Parnell could get another four to five starts this season. Santana and Perez will have surgery and are expected to be ready for spring training. Maine had surgery last off-season and hasn’t pitched in over two months.

NOTES: David Wright rejoined the team for workouts today. He’s expected to be activated from the disabled list (post concussion syndrome) when the Mets are in Colorado. Manuel said Wright will play after being activated, then plans to rest him the following day. … Angel Pagan has three homers in his last eight games and is continuing to make a statement for a job next season. … Adam Wogan has taken over Tony Bernazard’s old position as vice president of player development. GM Omar Minaya said he will evaluate the position after the season. … Carlos Beltran is expected to have a third MRI by the end of the month and could need microfracture surgery on his right knee. I’m not expecting him back.

The Mets’ (58-71) line-up against Ryan Dempster (7-7, 4.07):

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Brian Schneider, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Bobby Parnell, RP

Aug 24

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #125; Phillies series mercifully ends.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

We begin the day with more injury news, of course. Jeff Francoeur is at the Hospital of Special Surgery getting a MRI on his thumb, which was injured making a catch in the ninth inning yesterday. Also, David Wright was taking ground balls.

Bobby Parnell will make his fourth start in the experiment to see if he could be a starter next season. He’ll go against lefty Cliff Lee, who has won four straight decisions since coming over from Cleveland.

Here’s today’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Cory Sullivan, RF
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Bobby Parnell (3-5, 4.74 ERA), RP

NOTES; Parnell was ripped against the Braves in his last start, lasting three innings and giving up nine runs on nine hits.

Aug 24

About yesterday …. no moral victories.

An unassisted triple play is rarer than a perfect game, and rarer still is for one to end a game.

Somehow, it was the perfect way to end a game in this imperfect season.

Before we get carried away about the Mets’ character in coming back from a 6-0 first-inning deficit – and it was an important aspect of the game – we must first acknowledge the game was a microcosm of this season, and to some degree their off-season and this weekend.

On a grand scale, the Mets had high expectations heading into the season, and this was supposed to a magical weekend with the honoring of the 1969 Mets. However, injuries and poor play sabotaged the season, and the grandest team in franchise history was treated to the spectacle of bad baseball. Does anybody really expect Bobby Parnell to out-pitch Cliff Lee to salvage a split.

As injuries have sidetracked this season, there is no telling what might have happened had the Mets even had one of their core bats in the game let alone for. Mets fans will forever be haunted by the what could have beens from this season.

Even still, there are 25 professional players on the team, but despite their spirited comeback, they played to the themes that really have cost the Mets this season: poor starting pitching and situational hitting, and overuse of the bullpen. There was also a questionable managerial decision or two.

Oliver Perez gave up six runs and didn’t get out of the first in another dismal performance that brought to questions of whether he’ll ever tap into his potential, and why the Mets bothered to re-sign him in the first place. As the home runs flew it was a reminder of the organization’s inability to fix its greatest need in the off-season.

Yes, it was an exciting comeback and excruciating ending, but let’s not forget the Mets twice had a runner on third with less than two outs and couldn’t score and they were hitless in their first eight at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Perez’s inexcusable outing piled 8 1/3 innings onto a bullpen that needs the rest. Three runs in that span is acceptable, but not when one of them is on a wild pitch. Sean Green, an off-season acquisition that was supposed to bolster the pen, has had a terrible season.

One thing preyed on my mind as Perez’s pitch count mounted to Jason Werth: This guy is going to hit a home run.

How could Jerry Manuel not be thinking the same thing? And, as Perez continued to struggle, it became apparent he wasn’t going to turn it around, so why keep him in to give up a second three-run homer?

Kind of makes you wonder what Manuel saw on the ball-three pitch to Pedro Martinez that he missed earlier.

Yes, the Mets showed some degree of pride yesterday in coming back. Perhaps they were so fed up and embarrassed about Perez. Whatever the reason, what’s left of this team has to maintain what’s left of this season.

It’s not impossible, but .500 or even a winning record is attainable and should be the goal. Reaching it would mean an improvement in play, including fundamentals, which have been sorely lacking.

Let’s face it, the Mets are playing for next year, and that begins now.

Aug 19

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #120; Where did the season go?

METS CHAT ROOM

METS CHAT ROOM

Where did it go? Where did the season disappear to? There are 42 games between now and winter, although, truth be know, from a competitive standpoint the season ended a lot time ago for the Mets.

The goal now is .500, and with it, limited respectability. They are now reduced to the Washington Nationals-like role of spoiler. How distasteful is that? The World Series window that seemed wide open when Aaron Heilman grooved that pitch to Yadier Molina has slammed shut with two year-end fades and this summer’s collapse.

The Mets are looking at the future with Bobby Parnell (3–4, 3.50 ERA) making his third start tonight against the Atlanta Braves.

Parnell’s first start was essentially a 60-pitch ineffective relief appearance, but he looked much better in his last start, an 80-pitch effort, last weekend against the Giants. His ceiling is 100. He could get maybe four more starts after tonight, which should give the Mets a good indication of whether they can slot him into next year’s rotation. That would eliminate a huge off-season headache.

As it always is with young pitchers the question is whether he’s able to command his secondary pitches to go along with his 97-mph. fastball. The fastball stuff he has, the command and movement is still a work in progress.

Here’s the Mets’ line-up against Jair Jurrjens (9-8, 2.99 ERA):

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Bobby Parnell, RP

NOTEBOOK: Jurrjens is 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA in five starts against the Mets. … Parnell has a 1.62 ERA in his two starts. … Johan Santana said he never asked to be traded. … Sheffield was pulled off waivers when a team tried to claim him which means he can’t be traded. Should Sheffield be put through waivers again and is claimed he’s gone. He said he believes he’ll be gone. … Billy Wagner said he has no designs on closing when he’s activated this week, but next year will be different. There are several teams in need of a closer, including the Chicago Cubs, and others in need of lefty relief, including the Yankees. I don’t see the Mets doing business in the Bronx.

Aug 14

METS CHAT ROOM: Games #115/116; Home again.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

First of all, I’d like to begin by saying thank you to all of you out there. The last week or so, after the email prodding of a few, I have started to post longer threads in addition to the Mets Chat Room. I am appreciative that you still like reading what I have to say and I am grateful that although I haven’t been around the team as much as I would like that you are still interested in my thoughts and what I can dig up.

Your interest and support is carrying me through a difficult time and I will try to finish the season strong with more writing and analysis. Again, thank you.

Tonight, our heroes return home after a hideous road trip. They are still mathematically alive, but let’s be realistic. With the Giants, Atlanta and Philly in during this homestand, even the pipe dreams could soon be over.

The 53–61 Mets host the Giants (62–62), with Bobby Parnell (2–4, 3.94 ERA) going against Barry Zito (8–10, 4.40 ERA).

Pitching is a key issue for the Mets, and Parnell could be a rotation answer next season. He was limited in his last start to around 60 pitches, but will have a 75-pitch ceiling tonight. As with all young pitchers, development of his secondary pitches is critical, and in Parnell’s case, that means better use of his slider and splitter. Last time, it was too much fastball, of which he had little control.

Here’s the batting order:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Bobby Parnell, RP

NOTEBOOK: Manager Jerry Manuel said Livan Hernandez will remain in the rotation. That’s hardly a surprise considering his options. … David Wright’s sore knee is good enough for him to play. … Manuel said he believes Carlos Beltran will play again this summer. Why?