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?

Aug 08

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #110; Big night for Parnell.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The 51-58 Mets might be playing one of their most important games of the season tonight in San Diego when they start Bobby Parnell against the Padres.

The Mets, loaded with pitching questions, might not be the big players in the free agent market we all anticipate them to be. Therefore, if they are serious about considering Parnell for the rotation, it’s important they get some idea about him now.

As of now, the Mets have three givens in their rotation for next season: Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and, like it or not, Oliver Perez. Let’s face it, Perez’s performance the other night bought him the goodwill needed to keep sending him out there. The Mets would like to count on John Maine, but the would have liked to have counted on him this season, too. Livan Hernandez has pitched will in half his starts. The other half, not so much.

PARNELL: Big opportunity.

PARNELL: Big opportunity.


Parnell will have a 70-pitch ceiling, which might not take him through the fifth inning. However, this is just like spring training. He’ll get ten more pitches or another inning the next time.

Parnell had been 2–3 with a 3.74 ERA in 45 2/3 innings, with 38 strikeouts. Parnell, a starter in the minors, has pitched well out of the bullpen, but his heart remains as a starter.

As a reliever, Parnell was able to get by on his 95 mph. fastball, but as a starter he’ll need to rely more on his slider, which is pretty good, and a splitter, which isn’t as refined.

Here’s the line-up behind Parnell:

Angel Pagan, CF
Alex Cora, SS
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Fernando Tatis, 2B
Brian Schneider, C
Bobby Parnell, RP

NOTEBOOK: John Maine will try to play catch on Monday. … Luis Castillo might be available tomorrow. … Gary Sheffield is still bothered by a sore hamstring.

Jun 16

No on dealing Parnell

The Washington Nationals’ Nick Johnson’s name keeps popping up as a possible plug to fill the first base hole, with the price being Bobby Parnell.

Don’t do it.

Parnell has too much of an upside and you can already see cracks forming in the bullpen bridge. Plus, Johnson has a long injury history, and from mostly freak plays, that he isn’t worth the risk. It’s a matter of time before he goes on the DL.

First base is a glaring hole, but not as much as the gap in their rotation.