Aug 02

It’s down to this week ….

If there is such a thing as flipping a switch for a team, the Mets will have to do it now. After starting their second half collapse by losing 12 of 17 since the All-Star break, they’ll have to turn it around now.

Now!

Out of 162 games, the season will boil down to six games for the Mets. Three in Atlanta starting tonight, then three in Philadelphia over the weekend against the Phillies. For a team that has been horrid all season on the road, they pretty much have to run the table to make any kind of dent.

If they win two of three, they’ll only pick up one game, so what good is that?

Whatever pride this team has left, they’d better find it now if they have any hope of playing meaningful baseball in September.

The confidence level in this team has to be high tonight because of Johan Santana, but overall, considering how they mailed it in yesterday in being mauled by Arizona it’s low. With all that is on the line for the Mets, to come up with such a showing is shameful.

How does a team that says it is a contender only win one of six games against a team like the Diamondbacks? Shameful. It inspires no confidence for this week.

Mar 18

March 18.10: What’s Jerry’s thinking about the fifth starter?

With most managers, at least those with security, their objectives are a balance between winning today and building for the future. That can’t be said for the Mets’ Jerry Manuel, who has joked about the importance of a fast start for the preservation of his job.

There’s truth in humor.

Manuel presided over the late season collapse of 2008 and full season free fall of 2009, and knows the Mets must contend, if not get to the playoffs and win a round, if he’s to return next year. Manuel’s job is on the line, and with it there’s a sense of urgency of being competitive immediately.

Given that, it stands to reason Manuel’s decisions, like that of choosing his fifth starter, will be to give him the best chance of winning now as opposing for building for the future, because quite simply, he has no guarantee of a future.

Manuel’s comments the other day that he’d like to see Hisanori Takahashi start a game this spring suggests strongly he’s being seriously considered for the fifth starter role. Takahashi has been superb in six scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out nine.

“What we have seen so far is he really has the ability to pitch and pitch with all his pitches,” Manuel said. “He probably is our sharpest pitcher right now, as far as everything hitting where he wants it to hit.”

If not Takahashi, then perhaps Fernando Nieve. Nelson Figueroa will be sent out to clear waivers, and Jon Niese, who went into spring training the favorite, will be sent out because he has options remaining.

Niese might be the fifth starter down the road, but Manuel doesn’t have the luxury of letting him learn on the job. As long as Takahashi is getting batters out, the Mets have a chance to win, and that means Manuel has a better chance to stick around.

Nov 05

Catching up ….

Sorry for the brief hiatus, but when Mother Migraine decides she wants to put you on your butt you have no choice but to go down. Slept most of yesterday and awoke to the news we have a new president and the Mets probably won’t make much of a splash in the FA market.

Been trying to catch up on the Hot Stove News and there’s really not much that’s surprising. We know the Yankees are offering money to just about everybody while the Mets figure not to stray far from their $143 million payroll from last year.

Most of the news seems to substantiate what we’ve been talking about here, that the Mets will go after pitching, pitching and somebody to throw the ball to the catcher. They’d like to keep Oliver Perez and sign Derek Lowe, and they’ve targeted Brian Fuentes as their closer.

Nothing shocking there.

The Mets don’t figure to go after a big bat because they don’t believe that’s why they lost. Their problems hitting with runners in scoring position were brought into greater focus because of the 29 blown saves. Cut that in half, they figure, and the NL East would have been theirs for the taking.

Actually, that was their same philosophy each of the last two winters. After 2006, there was the belief of entitlement, that after coming so close they would naturally take the next step. After 2007, there was a feeling the collapse was an aberration and they were still the team to beat.

Not so then, and maybe not so now.

Oct 22

Randolph to get Milwaukee interview

Randolph: To interview with Brewers.

Randolph: To interview with Brewers.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on its website today Willie Randolph will interview for the Milwaukee Brewers’ vacant managerial position.

I’m guessing a key interview question would be what responsibility in takes for the 2007 collapse and what he learned.

Randolph has to come out and say the experience taught him to lighten up. It’s no crime to be tense. I always liked Willie, but he kept reporters at arm’s length. That’s OK, most managers do, but Randolph had this sense of being persecuted which wasn’t true.

I think Randolph deserves another chance. He has a winning record that warrants it. I hope he gets the job, and this time I hope he enjoys it.

Sep 24

Manuel: Just get in.

Jerry Manuel makes his point.

Jerry Manuel makes his point.

Jerry Manuel doesn’t care whether it is by winning the NL East or as a wild card. The important thing is just getting to play beyond Sunday.

Said Manuel about last year’s collapse and the playoffs: “The burden … the cloud … the demons … whatever you want to name it. I think we’re gonna be fine. If someone scraps and claws their way in, those teams seem to fare very well in the playoffs. That’s my hope. That we fight our way in and we fight our way through.”