The Mets’ June cruise has not only made them relevant in the National League pennant races, but subsequently also at the July 31 trade deadline.
LEE: July's big fish.
With management believing this is no fluke and the Mets will continue to play alert, aggressive baseball, there are serious discussions not whether they should trade, but whom to trade for – and just as important, whom they should not trade.
Their interest, despite this remarkable run by the rotation, must remain pitching. First rotation; second bullpen.
There is a sense of calm derived from how well Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey have pitched, and a feeling of optimism with Jon Niese’s run since coming off the disabled list.
Maybe the Mets will score for him today. The Mets, winners of nine straight home games, haven’t been supportive of their ace.
Games #59/60 vs. Padres
Johan Santana has been marvelous, throwing 15 straight scoreless innings over his last two starts, but having nothing to show for it. In his last start, he threw seven scoreless at San Diego, but the Mets went on to lose 5-1 in 11 innings.
Santana’s ERA over his last five games is 0.74, but the Mets have given him two or fewer runs in four of them. Santana has four victories, but with a little support he could have eight. Easy.
Santana will start Game 1 of the day-night doubleheader at Citi Field and Jon Niese will start the second game.
John Maine will get another chance to join the Mets’ rotation, but one has to wonder if that would be the case if Hisanori Takahashi hadn’t spit the bit his last two starts.
MAINE: Feeling better
After two strong starts, the last two have found Takahashi being mauled. In his last start against the Marlins, Takahashi hit a wall around the fifth. Even in his two strong starts, he struggled to get through six.
The Mets think he’s better out of the bullpen.
“We like Takahashi as a pitcher,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “We think we have lost something in the bullpen when he’s a starter, so that’s a scenario that could work if and when John Maine is healthy and we feel he’s ready to be part of the rotation.’’
Maine threw a simulated game last night, and if he’s pain free today will make a minor league rehab start. Then it’s back into the rotation.
It didn’t look like that would be the case last month when Manuel yanked him at Washington after throwing only five pitches. The two got into it in the dugout and Manuel pulled Maine from the rotation, insisting something was wrong. An MRI then revealed shoulder tendinitis.
A strikeout machine for much of this season, David Wright enters tonight’s game against the San Diego Padres on a big-time tear, with 13 hits in his last 25 at-bats – most of them scalded.
During that span Wright only struck out four times, three of them last Wednesday at San Diego. He did not strike out during the Florida series.
Wright said he was all over the place earlier this season, but has become more selective over the past week not chasing the sliders away. He’s also been quicker with the bat and getting to the inside fastball.
Hisanori Takahashi will get another chance partly because he deserves it, but also because the Mets don’t have much choice.
TAKAHASHI: Raked again.
Takahashi has started four games; two sparkling and two stinkers. What the Mets have learned is when the unraveling starts it comes quickly, and trouble usually comes around the fifth and sixth innings.
He began to tire at this time against the Yankees and Phillies, and yesterday. However, he lost it early against the Padres, when he never had command.
The memory of the Yankees and Phillies starts, plus how strong he was until the Cody Ross homer yesterday, is what will keep him in the rotation for now.