Sep 09

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #139; Misch tries to keep roll going.

METS CHAT ROOM

METS CHAT ROOM

The Mets’ decimated pitching rotation in tatters, it continues to be Mike Pelfrey and The Cast of Thousands, trying to see who that day can make it through five innings, or to touch the unimaginable — six innings.

Tonight’s starter, Pat Misch, Nelson Figueroa, Tim Redding and Bobby Parnell have all flashed positive signs that gives one pause to think, “maybe, must maybe, we have something here.”

Then it all goes a way in a flurry or walks and home runs, a reminder why these pitchers are journeymen to begin with. Of the four, Parnell has the best stuff and is the youngest. He has the best chance. He also needs experience. This year the Mets kept him to work out of the bullpen, then turned to him out of necessity. Next spring they should make a decision and stick with it, and that decision should be as a starter.

MISCH: Starts tonight vs.Fish

MISCH: Starts tonight vs.Fish


The others? Well, if Misch, Figueroa or Redding were in next year’s rotation, it would mean Omar Minaya didn’t have a good winter, somebody is still hurt, and count on another long year for the Mets.

Misch, Figueroa and Redding have shown enough positives to where they should be invited to spring training to compete for a long man role. Misch (1-1, 3.25) earned his first major league win Thursday at Colorado, giving up two runs (two solo homers) on four hits in seven innings of an 8-3 victory.

“The key was I minimized the traffic on the bases,” Misch said. “There wasn’t any one on when they got the home runs.”

The Mets will have Carlos Beltran in the line-up again tonight. Beltran was activated from the disabled list Wednesday and went 1-for-4 in his first game since June 21.

“It will probably take him a few games to really find his rhythm at the plate,” manager Jerry Manuel said of Beltran. “I think once that starts he will get on track, so to speak. He looked pretty good.”

Sep 09

Maine has test tomorrow.

Of all the injured Mets who had a chance of returning this season, seeing John Maine again was easily the most important.

Billy Wagner returned, showed he was healthy and sent the Red Sox. We are finally seeing Carlos Beltran, although he might still be gimpy. Mets doctors say Johan Santana and Oliver Perez should make successful recoveries from surgery and be ready for spring training.

MAINE: As fragile as his bobblehead doll.

MAINE: As fragile as his bobblehead doll.


Then again, that’s what they said about Maine.

Maine, on the disabled list since June 7 with a pinched nerve in his throwing shoulder, will throw a simulated game tomorrow, and barring any complications, start the second game of Sunday’s double-header at Philadelphia.

“It feels good,’’ Maine told reporters yesterday. “Strength-wise, it’s not quite 100 percent. But as far as the pain, it’s just not there. I think with a good off-season, I’ll be able to put it behind me. It should go away and should be fine.’’

The operative word being off-season. If Maine somehow didn’t pitch again this year, the Mets would have nothing to evaluate and might opt to non-tender him a contract. The risk being somebody else would take a chance on him and he’d bounce back.

Personally, I think they’ll tender the contract anyway because the money is rather small and would be for one year, and because the Mets don’t have that many minor league options, and they are unlikely to splurge on the free-agent and trade markets. The inclination wildly spend is not there. Look on whom they passed last winter (Derek Lowe and Randy Wolf).

However, should Maine make it out of Sunday’s 60-pitch audition without difficulty, he should get three more starts before the end of the season. Four starts is roughly a short spring training, but it this case it might be enough for the Mets to start formulating some plans.

Maine has as much to gain as the Mets by pitching in September, because if he proves he’s healthy, and the Mets inexplicably don’t tender a contract, he would enter the free-agent market.

If the Mets are able to pencil in Maine for one rotation spot, it would eliminate one of the many headaches the Mets will have to contend with this winter.

Although there has been some discussion about putting Maine in the bullpen, I don’t see the Mets using this window for that kind of experiment.

Sep 09

What’s wrong with Wright?

Sorry for getting out of the blocks late today. There was a job lead I needed to follow-up on and several phone calls that needed to me made. I was under consideration to cover Alabama football, but that didn’t pan out. Would have been interesting.

I’m working on several projects, one of which is ghost writing a book on martial arts. Very interesting subject. Once it is done, I’ll post where you can get a copy.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you guys again for last night’s blog. It is what I envisioned when I kept the blog going. It should be like a group of friends getting together at my house or a sports bar (better make it the bar, because I don’t want to pick up) with plenty of lively, challenging conversation. It was clean and civil. Some good-natured pokes, but isn’t that the way it should be when you’re with friends?

Most beat writer blogs are simply glorified message boards and chat rooms. Not much serious give-and-take. Intelligent conversation. Good job.

Thanks again.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.


i did want to talk about David Wright this morning. An absolutely horrible game last night. It’s OK, everybody has them. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays had horrible games, too. There was one error, but should have been two. A DP and a K with RISP. Wright gets a hit in one of those two spots and maybe the Mets win the game.

Wright is second behind Gary Sheffield (10) with eight homers. Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur could all hit more homers than Wright this year. There are other ways to win besides home runs, but the Mets aren’t doing any of them. If they played consistent, fundamental baseball and kept the line moving, advanced runners, and hit when the situation declares it, their lack of power could be tolerated.

But, they don’t, and they make too many mistakes defensively, and walk far too many hitters, that dig them into holes. Power is the great eraser, but the Mets don’t have the power to erase the kind of mistakes they are making on a consistent basis.

Wright has done something with his stance and is just not driving the ball as he used to. I don’t care if he hits .320 as long as there is some run production, but there is not.

There is NOT ONE explanation for what has happened to Wright. The altercation of his stance is a contributing factor, and he obviously doesn’t feel as if he could adjust without getting into a funk. That happens. There is the added pressure of being the only one of the core playing for much of the season, and that has taken a toll. There is also the perception of Citi Field not being a hitter friendly park, but that has changed as the season wore on. Plenty of home runs are being hit, just not by the Mets.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.


Yes, lack of protection in the batting order plays a part, but then again, Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds, went seasons without serious back-up and look at their numbers. In all fairness, Pujols and Bonds are elite players above Wright’s level.

Wright has run either hot and cold all season. His average is good, but there needs to be more RBI next to it, even without the homers. Some of that could be attributed to those hitting in front of him, but remember, Luis Castillo has had a good season.

Most perplexing to me about Wright has been the strikeouts. He has 115 already and is on a pace for 138 (a little over 24 percent of his at-bats). Conversely, he’s on a pace for 79 walks. He’s also on pace for career lows in homers (10) and RBI (71), yet, his .406 on-base percentage would be the second highest of his career.

Wright’s power out age might have been more acceptable had Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado stayed healthy. Nonetheless, Wright has established himself as a power run-producer. We can write this season off as a bad one, but he’ll get no such slack next season.

Wright is the face of this franchise, like it or not, and his job description is to hit for more power. Whether we blame Wright for being stubborn or hitting coach Howard Johnson is immaterial. Wright needs to make an overhaul of his stance and mechanics this winter and return to being a run producer. That’s his job.

Sep 08

Beltran ready tonight.

Carlos Beltran will be activated from the disabled list for tonight’s game against Florida. Beltran’s availability does nothing for the Mets for the remaining of the season in the standings, but is for his own peace of mind.

BELTRAN: Spring training was a long time ago.

BELTRAN: Spring training was a long time ago.


As much as I advocated shutting him down, if that does him some good in his preparation for 2010, then it is a good thing. A player’s psyche can be delicate, even for a player as gifted and experienced as Beltran. If he believes getting out there will alleviate the wondering this winter, then go for it.

By the numbers: The Mets were 35–33 with Beltran and 27-42 since going on the disabled list in late June.

Said Beltran: “I’ve been working to come back, so that’s my ultimate goal. I feel like I can come back and play. I’m ready.”

Sep 06

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #137; Will we get the good Pelfrey today?

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The enigma known as Mike Pelfrey will face the Chicago Cubs this afternoon in an attempt to avoid his third straight loss. At 9-10 with a 5.03 ERA – dare I say it? – Pelfrey has been no better than Oliver Perez in what was supposed to be a breakout year for him as the No. 2 starter.

Showing poise absent earlier in his career, and a better command of his secondary pitches, Pelfrey won 13 games last season. He might equal that this year, but it would be with a struggle because there’s been little consistency in his game despite his fastball.

PELFREY: Coin Flip II

PELFREY: Coin Flip II


“I would say when you see his stuff you still get excited, but there has to come a time of maturation or development where there has to be some consistently,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “We’re just not getting that from him. He is a product of being inconsistent. The inconsistently is a concern, the stuff is not. We feel very confident that what he has is good enough to compete, but we need to see it on a more consistent basis, and we’re not seeing that.”

Pelfrey is 5-3 with a 3.80 ERA in 14 home starts this season to give the Mets a sense of confidence this afternoon, but he’s been miserable since the All-Star break at 2-6 with a 6.10 ERA in nine starts. That includes giving up seven runs in four innings last Tuesday at Colorado.

The Mets have lost 10 of their last 14 games, and finishing .500 is not even a realistic possibility, even with the news they might get Carlos Beltran and John Maine back this season. Beltran could be ready for the Marlins series Tuesday at Citi Field and Maine, who pitched well in a rehab start yesterday at Port St. Lucie, could pitch Sunday in Philadelphia.

MAINE: Pitching for his future.

MAINE: Pitching for his future.


Maine needs to show something to be counted into the Mets’ plans for next season. If he busts out then exists the chance they might not tender him a contract for next year.

NOTEBOOK: Manuel said he doesn’t expect Gary Sheffield (back spasms) to return this season. … Cory Sullivan has homered in both games of this series. … Luis Castillo has four hits in the series.

Here’s the line-up for today’s game:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Brian Schneider, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP