Apr 06

Pelfrey goes for Mets tonight against Philly

PELFREY: Tries to get on the winning side tonight.

After a winter of gloomy projections and lowly expectations the Mets take a four-game inning streak into tonight’s start in Philadelphia. They didn’t win their fourth game last season until April 17.

It has been only five games, but the Mets are combining hitting  (a .296 team average) with sterling starting pitching (a 1.47 ERA from the rotation. They have hustled as manager Terry Collins promised and for the most part have been fundamentally sound, which the manager also vowed.

“I’ve said that I think we can play with anybody, but it will take all 25 guys,’’ said Collins.

One of those guys is Pelfrey, whose Opening Day start at Florida is the Mets’ only blemish to the young season.

I’m really looking forward to see how Pelfrey rebounds tonight against the Phillies. Pelfrey didn’t make it out of the fifth inning against the Marlins, but that’s nothing new against Florida.

Life hasn’t always been a day at the beach at Philadelphia either for Pelfrey, who is 1-2 with an 8.17 ERA while giving up seven homers in his last five starts in Philly.

After rocking Cole Hamels last night, it is easy to think the pitching match-ups favor the Mets tonight with Pelfrey going against Joe Blanton, but he’s 4-0 with a 1.27 ERA in four home starts against New York.

From today’s press briefing, Collins said:

* Since he hasn’t worked in three days, Collins said he would get Francisco Rodriguez into the game.

* With tomorrow a day game, Carlos Beltran is expected to get the day off.

* Unlike Jerry Manuel, who tended to ride horse until it dropped, Collins will continue to play his bench.

Tonight’s lineup at Philadelphia:

Jose Reyes, SS

Willie Harris, LF

David Wright, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Angel Pagan, CF

Ike Davis, 1B

Brad Emaus, 2B

Josh Thole, C

Mike Pelfrey, RP

 

Apr 04

A good weekend in Florida for Mets; Bay still ailing.

The Mets didn’t win their first road series last year until June. They didn’t win their first on the road against a National League team until August.

That’s just the beginning of a positive first impression to take out of the first weekend for the Mets, a team with lowly expectations.

Take away Mike Pelfrey on Friday, and it was a good weekend for the Mets in Florida as they received strong pitching performances from Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey, questions going in.

“The first game was more of what Josh Johnson did than what we didn’t do,’’ said David Wright. “All in all, it was a good weekend, especially since the last couple of years we’ve had a lot of trouble here. It’s good to get off to a good start. We’re going to have to play just as well in Philadelphia [next series].’’

While nobody is getting carried away by the Marlins series, following the Mets must include finding your silver linings when you can. The Mets didn’t let blowing a ninth inning lead derail them Saturday and they put a team away Sunday, both signs missing from last season.

Chris Young will start for the Mets tomorrow night in Philadelphia, where things are always different.

Meanwhile, Jason Bay’s ribs are still hurting and he hasn’t begun swinging a bat, yet. I wouldn’t be placing any bets on him returning in a week. Also, Jason Isringhausen is feeling discomfort in his back. Just as well he took the extended spring training.

 

Apr 03

Niese sharp against Marlins; Dickey goes for series win.

The way things started last night for Jon Niese, I didn’t expect him to last long, set alone give up only one hit in the next six innings.

NIESE: Sharp last night.

That upside I mentioned yesterday about Niese? Well, we saw it last night.  He was a definite bright spot. So was David Wright, who drove in two runs with a homer and single.

 

With Jason Bay down and the Carlos Beltran on the mend, the Mets need a good start from Wright.

Beltran, meanwhile, scored from first on a double by Ike Davis. He also doesn’t seem to have any problems moving in the outfield.

I like how the Mets came back from the first inning and after Francisco Rodriguez blew a save opportunity in the ninth. There was no sign of a fragile confidence.

Other good impressions after the first two games:

* Everybody is hustling. No malingerers in the batting box.

* Brad Emaus has looked comfortable at second.

* There’s pep in Jose Reyes’ step.

The Mets go for the series win this afternoon behind R.A. Dickey.

Here’s the batting order:

Jose Reyes, SS

Willie Harris, LF

David Wright, 3B

Ike Davis, 1B

Angel Pagan, CF

Lucas Duda, RF

Daniel Murphy, 2B

Josh Thole, C

R.A. Dickey, RP

 

Apr 01

Terry Collins sends open letter to Mets’ fans

What we’ve been waiting for since that final Sunday at Citi Field, when Oliver Perez was booed off the mound for the last time is hours away: The start of another era in Mets’ history.

COLLINS: A new era begins

The Yankees had their moment yesterday, and I’m watching Roy Halladay and the Phillies are in a pitching duel with Houston. Meanwhile, in Florida, Mets manager Terry Collins is already at the ballpark and his players are trickling into the clubhouse.

For today, at least, the disappointments of the past have given way to optimism despite the issues – on and off the field – swirling around this team. It’s Opening Day, for some the real New Year’s day, and the air is full of hope and positive feelings.

Collins, who hasn’t stopped working since he was hired to replace Jerry Manuel, began his work day by sending the following open letter to Mets’ fans:

 

Dear Mets Fan:

With our 2011 opener tonight in Florida, I want to make this pledge to Mets fans — our team will play the game the right way.

We will always hustle on the bases, run balls down in the outfield and never take anything for granted, no matter the score of the game.

We had a great Spring Training. From Day 1 my message has been look ahead, not backward, and not to worry about what the people outside the clubhouse are saying. If we pitch and play defense like I know we can, we will surprise a lot of people, a lot of people.

I stack our lineup against anyone else’s in the league. Getting Carlos Beltran back and hitting cleanup is really big. The way Carlos handled his move to right field was one of the classiest things I have ever seen. Angel Pagan is coming off a great season. While we had a little setback this week with Jason Bay — who was swinging the bat well — going on the disabled list, he shouldn’t be out too long. We believe with the three of them on the field, we have one of the top outfields in baseball.

Our infield is anchored by the two All-Stars on the left side: David Wright at third and Jose Reyes at short. I think David will add on to his numbers from last year and Jose is ready to have a tremendous season. He is one of the most dynamic players in the game. Ike Davis will continue to develop at first base and Josh Thole is one of the fine young catchers in the game. Brad Emaus, a Rule 5 pick, got better and better as the spring went on and won the second base job.

On the mound, sure, we are going to miss Johan Santana until he comes back, hopefully in mid-year. But this spring, I think we established a solid rotation with Mike Pelfrey, followed by R.A. Dickey and Jonathon Niese. Chris Young and Chris Capuano proved that they are healthy, and they really strengthen us on the back end.

We remade our bullpen and we think we have quality arms who throw strikes to get to closer Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod has just had a fantastic spring and I never have seen him throwing better. People like Bobby Parnell, D.J. Carrasco, Taylor Buchholz, Blaine Boyer, Tim Byrdak and Pedro Beato — another Rule 5 selection who is from Queens — will give us a solid ‘pen.

I believe we have fortified our bench with the additions of Scott Hairston, Willie Harris, Ronny Paulino (who will begin the year on the disabled list) and Chin-lung Hu, along with Daniel Murphy.

It’s been 12 years since I have started a season as a Major League manager. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be leading the New York Mets and am very excited about the season ahead.

Thanks for your support and see you at Citi Field.

Sincerely,

Terry Collins

 

Realistically, I didn’t expect Collins to write anything else, but then again I don’t recall a gesture like this recently from a Mets’ manager. David Wright said Collins’ team speech to close spring training was like something out of “Hoosiers.”

Maybe the odds are as long for the Mets this year as they were for Hickory High School, but for today at least, it is time to believe in miracles.

Afterall, isn’t that what Opening Days are for.

 

NEXT UP: Tonight’s lineup and 2011 Over/Unders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 23

Mets to consider Murphy/Emaus platoon at second

Just because he hustles doesn’t mean Daniel Murphy will win the second base job. There are concerns about his defensive abilities, and while he has shown glimpses of offensive production, it is still a small window.

MURPHY: Competing for second base job.

The Mets like Rule 5 selection Brad Emaus’ potential, and he’ll get a nod over Justin Turner because the latter has remaining options.

The book on Emaus is he has adequate range and power potential as he hit ten homers in 309 at-bats for Toronto’s Triple A affiliate last summer.

Could he and Murphy share the job in a platoon basis? Absolutely.

Also working in Emaus’ favor is his ability to back up David Wright at third. Murphy, of course, can back up Ike Davis at first, so that platoon offers versatility.

Where does that leave Luis Castillo?

The Mets would love to deal him, but aren’t close to drawing any interest. Reports are Castillo could have reported in better shape, and although he didn’t come to camp early because of a family situation, he didn’t tell the Mets what was going on.

Manager Terry Collins said he would have preferred Castillo report early, but said that while not being aware of Castillo’s situation. A little communication would have spared Castillo a dig from his new manager.

Not a good start by Castillo, who has to be flawless to make the team.

I believe the deciding factor at second base is defense. If Murphy/Emaus show they can handle the position, it would go a long way to keeping that platoon over Castillo, whose defense skills are on a decline.