Sep 18

Two Key Numbers Say Mets On The Cusp

Just when you begin to get the warm-and-fuzzies about the New York Mets, they lose a series to the Miami Marlins, a team they trailed by just a game starting the week.

Granted, third place in nothing to raise a banner over, but it is better than fourth. Also, at the end of last week, they trailed Atlanta by 2.5 games with a chance at second … small steps for a team learning to walk with the big boys.

However, none one of this changes the fact the Mets have a way to go to reach true competitive status.

The Mets lost their 29th one-run game Wednesday night – they are 25-29. They played an additional 23 two-run games. That’s 77 games that could be considered close.

So, in 48 percent, or roughly half their games, the Mets were competitive.

Of all the numbers defining this season, 77 might be the most telling. More so than what they hit with runners in scoring position; team batting average; or any of the fancy Sabremetrics numbers.

Also important is their 30-35 record within the NL East, which includes 3-13 against the Nationals (with three remaining in Washington).

Quite simply, for the Mets to become a winning team (seven games under with nine to play) they must improve in those two areas. Using the Mets’ .477 winning percentage, if they played at that rate in their 29 one-run losses and 23 two-run games (52), that’s 25 more victories for 99 total on the season.

That’s an unrealistic jump to expect, but I point it out to illustrate they are on the cusp of turning the corner. Should Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler pitch to expectations next season, Jon Niese does the same, and with the return of a healthy David Wright, the Mets could be in the wild-card mix in 2015.

Assuming all that happens, another at least another ten victories is possible. It could happen.

Dillon Gee was auditioning last night to attract the attention of a team for 2015 under the assumption he wouldn’t return to the Mets. Gee, a No. 5 starter at best is 7-8 with probably one more start.

Banking on the return of Harvey, plus Wheeler, Niese, Jacob deGrom and Bartolo Colon, there’s no room for Gee. The numbers don’t work.

LAGARES INJURED: Outfielder Juan Lagares has a right-elbow sprain and will likely miss three or four games. With nine games remaining, is there time for him to play again?

“I can’t answer that,’’ Terry Collins told reporters yesterday.

Lagares has been ailing since the Cincinnati series the first game in September.

WPIX RE-SIGNS WITH METS: Television station WPIX extended its contract with the Mets through 2017. The package includes 25 regular-season games and four in spring training.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE: The Mets are off today then begin a three-game series this weekend in Atlanta.

 

Wheeler (10-10), Niese (8-11) and deGrom (8-6) will start for the Mets.

Sep 17

Encouraged by Pelfrey

PELFREY: On the cusp of stardom

The qualifier, of course, is it was against the Pirates, but it was good to see Mike Pelfrey throw a good game last night. His July swoon was alarming, but he seems to have corrected his mechanical and concentration problems that slammed the brakes on a potentially great season.

It is premature to say he’s completely there as a starter, but he could win 16, 17 games this year which is a watershed mark for a pitcher. And, if he even went .500 during his slide he could be looking at a 20-win season.

Pelfrey worked quickly and efficiently last night. He mixed his pitches well and worked both sides of the plate. The movement on his pitches was excellent, just the way it was at the beginning of the season.

I said going into the season Pelfrey might be the key Met, and it should be that way again next season. This guy is on the cusp of being right there and there will be more pressure than ever in 2011 because we don’t know what, if anything, the Mets will get from Johan Santana.

Aug 04

Mets Chat Room; Another gut check for Pelfrey.

There was a time this season when the Mets could count on a win, or at least a good chance at one, when they sent Mike Pelfrey to the mound. For the most part, until late June the Mets knew they’d get a quality start from him.

No longer.

Game #108 vs. Braves

Pelfrey surged to a 9-1 start and was on the cusp of dominance until he lost his mechanics, and not shortly after, his confidence. He’s been in a tailspin since with little indication of snapping out of his funk.

Pelfrey hasn’t gone through six innings in any of his last six starts. In that span he is 0-3 with a 9.59 ERA and hitters are batting an astronomical .446 against him.

Included in that span was a 4-0 loss to the Braves, July 10, when he gave up four runs on 12 hits in four innings.  Pelfrey didn’t get a decision in last Friday’s 9-6 loss to Arizona in which he gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Pelfrey’s problems start early. He didn’t allow a run in the first inning in his first 11 starts, but 16 in his next 10.

“Everybody else in the rotation has been throwing the ball great and I’ve kind of taken a step back from early in the year,’’ said Pelfrey. “I definitely plan on getting this thing turned around and back on track so we can start winning some games.’’

A win tonight at Atlanta will pull the Mets within 5 ½ games of the Braves with a three-game series coming up this weekend at Philadelphia.

Jun 28

Mets Chat Room: Dickey rolling for a seven.

Game #76 vs. Marlins

At the beginning of last week I wrote how important the Detroit and Minnesota series were to the streaky Mets.

They’ve been either hot or cold and a solid showing against two strong American League teams would be a positive showing, and going 4-2 has them on the cusp again of first place in the NL East. With a win tonight and Atlanta loss to Washington and rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg, the Mets can move into first place.

They’ll attempt to do it behind knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who is vying tonight to become the first Mets pitcher since Steve Trachsel in 2006 to win seven straight decisions.

“It doesn’t feel surreal,’’ Dickey said. “It feels like something I’ve been capable of doing.’’

The Mets will be without Angel Pagan again tonight, who remains sidelined with a muscle spasm on his right side.