Aug 21

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #122; Playing out the string.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

With 40 games remaining, tonight was supposed to be the start of a hot series with the rival Philadelphia Phillies. Fueled by Cole Hamels “choke” comments about the Mets last winter, there was to be heat and spice in this rivalry, which for the past two seasons featured a Mets’ collapse down the stretch and being overtaken by the Phillies.

Not only did the Mets blow two sizable leads to their neighbors at the other end of the Jersey Turnpike, but watched them win the World Series and in the process tweak Jose Reyes for his hot dog ways.

Reyes is nowhere to be seen tonight, and we might not see him for the rest of the season. The Phillies, meanwhile, cruise into Citi Field with an unfathomable 16-game lead. It could be 20 by Monday afternoon.

After trading for Cliff Lee, and with four players with at least 20 homers, five with 15, and two more with nine, the Phillies have all the pieces needed to repeat.
The Mets, however, are a team in disarray. Their entire core of David Wright, Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Degado is on the disabled list with no projected dates for their returns. Only two players from the Opening Day line-up – Luis Castillo and Daniel Murphy – are playing regularly. Two of their five starters – Livan Hernandez and John Maine – are out.

Gary Sheffield represents the power with ten homers and he could be gone any minute.

It has been a Twilight Zone season: the power disappeared; they sacked their assistant general manager; Oliver Perez and tonight’s starter, Mike Pelfrey, have been erratic; and injuries have also claimed time from Maine, JJ Putz, Brian Schneider, Perez and Alex Cora.

In some ways, Pelfrey personifies the Mets. A 13-game winner last season, he was supposed to take a step forward and emerge as the No. 2 starter. He takes an 8-8 record and 4.75 ERA to the mound tonight. He has a three-balk game on his resume and has four of his last five decisions.

Pelfrey has become positively Perez-like, being unable to limit the damage and lets innings get away from him. Against a power-laden line-up such as Philadelphia’s things could get out of hand early.

Here’s tonight’s line-up against Hamels:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP

Aug 17

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #118; Livan stays in rotation.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The core is gone, maybe never to return this season. With the Mets well below .500 and expectations of this year faded to bitter memories, there’s really no reason to rush David Wright’s return, or that of Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado.

Yes, there are reasons to see them, but none of the compelling team variety. The only one I can see them getting something for is Delgado in a waiver trade, but let’s face it, he’s not coming back.

The 55-62 Mets have played much of the year without Beltran, Delgado and Reyes, so watching Wright take a Matt Cain fastball in the earflap was especially difficult.

“He’s in our thoughts and our prayers,’’ Daniel Murphy said. “He’s the leader of this ball club.”

LIVAN: Stays in rotation.

LIVAN: Stays in rotation.

Livan Hernandez (7-7, 5.28) goes to the mound tonight against the Giants’ Joe Martinez (2-1, 6.00). Hernandez will try to rebound for his last two starts in which he gave up 12 runs on 15 hits and seven walks.

Manuel could have opted with Tim Redding or Nelson Figueroa, but stuck with Hernandez.

“Just looking back at everything, there’s been times where he’s had a couple bad outings and then he’s bounced right back,” Manuel said. “Hopefully we can get that from him now on the rest of the way.’’

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Cory Sullivan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Brian Schneider, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Livan Hernandez, RP

NOTEBOOK: Only three players, Murphy, Schneider and Castillo from the Opening Day batting order. … Lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano has not allowed an earned run in 14 of his past 15 appearances. … The Mets are 16-16 in one-run games, fitting for a team below .500. … Giants catcher Bengie Molina is expected to return to the lineup after Eli Whiteside replaced him Sunday. Molina, who hit the game-winning homer Saturday, is 8 for 17 with three homers lifetime versus Hernandez. … Alex Cora is still having some issues with his hand.

Jun 17

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #63; Murphy on spot.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Manager Jerry Manuel said today that as long as the team is winning he can live with the lack of production from Daniel Murphy and Fernando Martinez. The Mets are reasonably close to the Phillies, but they have only won three of their last seven games.

That’s hardly winning.

With each passing day, it is becoming more apparent the Mets are hanging in, but in need of an offensive infusion. Adam Dunn, anyone? He’ll be costly, but he will provide a 40-homer, 120-RBI bat the Mets desperately need.

Manuel also said Jose Reyes is at least a week away from beginning his rehab. Since the Mets are never right with these things, add some extra time.

Tim Redding (0-2, 6.18 ERA) is coming off a good start, giving up three runs over seven innings, June 11, against Philly.

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Alex Cora, SS
Fernando Martinez, LF
Carlos Beltran, CF
David Wright, 3B
Ryan Church, RF
Gary Sheffield, DH
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Brian Schneider, C
Luis Castillo, 2B

Jun 16

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #62; O’s no pushover.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The Mets come limping into Camden Yards tonight losers of four of their last six games, including a 15-0 rout to the Yankees Sunday afternoon in Johan Santana’s worst outing of the season.

If the Mets think they’ll march into Baltimore and get well just by showing up they have another thing coming, because the Orioles can hit, and Mike Pelfrey has been very hittable lately, giving up 13 runs on 15 hits in his last two starts.

PELFREY: Trying to get on track.

PELFREY: Trying to get on track.


Manager Jerry Manuel has been accused of waffling on Daniel Murphy and Fernando Martinez; sitting them after saying they would play. However, both are in the line-up tonight even though they are struggling.

Here’s the line-up:

Alex Cora, SS
Fernando Martinez, LF
Carlos Beltran, CF
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, DH
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Brian Schneider, C
Luis Castillo, 2B
***
Mike Pelfrey, RP

Updates: Jose Reyes doesn’t appear any closer to being ready than when he was first placed on the disabled list. … Gary Sheffield’s knee is still bothering him. Including tonight, he has three games where he can rest as the DH. … Johan Santana said there’s nothing wrong with him physically. Santana will get an extra day of rest before his next start, Saturday against Tampa Bay. If he comes out of that start with his velocity down, then maybe it might be time to be concerned.