In what so far has been a disappointing, underachieving season, there was a lot to like in last night’s victory at Atlanta.
Of course, since everything begins with pitching and John Maine was superb after a rocky second. There’s always one inning with Maine where he gets in trouble, but if he pulls out of it he goes on a hot stretch fueled by his fastball. He’s a power guy and gets in trouble when he tries to be too cute with his off-speed stuff.
Another positive the offense came from behind from three runs down for the first time this season. Carlos Beltran, who has been stroking line drives all year, went deep twice. Beltran is a hitter who when he gets hot can carry a team for a couple of weeks. What better time with all these games with the Braves and Phillies?
David Wright also showed signs of coming out of it with a homer.
But, it’s only one game and we’ve seen that before. Let’s get a string of these before proclaiming the Mets are all right.
Livan Hernandez, who has been shaky, goes tonight for the Mets.
There’s always news of some kind when the Mets are in Atlanta. Last year, for example, marked the beginning of the end for Willie Randolph and was also the site of Ryan Church’s concussion.
Word is Oliver Perez will be demoted to the bullpen, with the team eschewing the minor league and DL options.
Oh yes, Carlos Delgado returns tonight.
With a little less than three weeks before Opening Day, some issues the Mets opened camp with are starting to take focus. Others remain blurred.
Johan Santana, it seems, is on track. My philosophy on injuries is to assume the worst until the player proves otherwise. After a strong 56-pitch outing in a minor league game yesterday, the reports on Santana and his slider are good.
The fifth starter was another issue, and candidates Freddy Garcia (14.40 ERA this spring) and Livan Hernandez (3.72) will work today against the Braves. Garcia, obviously needs a complete turnaround to stay in contention, but coming off injuries, he’s likely to open the season with an extended spring training.
Hernandez has been mostly good, but still hasn’t blown Jerry Manuel away as to where the job is his. And, until he does, there will always be those Pedro Martinez whispers that won’t go away.
Jon NIese takes his 9.00 ERA to the mound today against the Braves. Niese is still in the hunt for the fifth spot in the rotation, but hasn’t overly impressed in his opportunity.
I’m still putting what’s left of my money on Livan Hernandez to win the role. That is, of course, if the Mets don’t pick somebody else up, such as re-signing Pedro Martinez.
Nobody has blown away the field. Tim Redding is hurting and could open the season on the DL. Freddy Garcia? That ended quickly.
I like what I saw of Niese last season, but he also had those moments that said he wasn’t ready. I’d hate for him to come up and get rocked the way Mike Pelfrey did. If there is a viable major league option to Niese, the Mets will take it.
Tom Glavine has a job this summer. He’ll make $1 million this year from the Braves. It’s what you get at the end of your career when you’ve already locked up the Hall of Fame and just want to play.
Pedro Martinez is auditioning with Team Dominican Republic. There are no guarantees for him.
Martinez took a shot at Glavine the other day when talking about his contract: “If I wanted to pitch that bad, I probably would. But I don’t think I’m in that stage. I believe I’m very comfortable. I’m not going to let anybody disrespect my abilities or the way I am. I wouldn’t say I would want to pitch that bad.”
Wow. That’s high heat. Glavine and Martinez were never best buds when the two were on the Mets.
I had the sense Glavine resented some of the things Martinez got away with, such as dictating his own training. I also had the sense Martinez didn’t want to share billing with Glavine.