Sep 24

This Day in Baseball History ….

Looking Back

Looking Back

On this day in 1991, the Mets’ Howard Johnson hit his 37th homer to set a National League record for switch-hitters. Johnson will finish the season with 38 homers and 117 RBI.

It has been a rough season for Johnson, who, as with most Mets’ coaches, is getting heat for the team’s collapse.

In particular, Johnson is under scrutiny for the team’s poor power showing, especially that of David Wright, who reached double-digits in homers this month with a pair at Philadelphia.

Wright and Jeff Francoeur are planning to work with Johnson in the off-season.

Sep 14

The key issues remaining for the Mets

The Mets have made it clear they are thinking toward next season with their decisions to activate Carlos Beltran and John Maine from the disabled list. As this disappointing year draws to a close these are some of the key issues remaining that need to be addressed.

1) John Maine proving he’s healthy over the next three starts?
My take: This is a key domino because it dictates in large part what the team does in the off-season.

MAINE: Needs to close strong.

MAINE: Needs to close strong.


2) Jose Reyes being activated from the disabled list?
My take: With how long it has taken him and talk of surgery, Reyes playing can only lead to bad things.

3) Carlos Delgado being activated from the disabled list?
My take: I don’t think he’s coming back, so no, especially if they are still high on Daniel Murphy at first base.

4) Mike Pelfrey putting several consistently good starts together?
My take: It would be good for his self-confidence, which right now has to be close to rock bottom.

5) David Wright regaining his power stroke?
My take: I think Philadelphia was a start. He’s had such a streaky season. I’d like to see him go long at Citi Field to get that out of his head.

6) Francisco Rodriguez being healthy and not making every save an adventure?
My take: He hasn’t pitched to expectations, especially after that game at Yankee Stadium when Luis Castillo dropped the pop-up. Something isn’t right with him.

7) Angel Pagan getting a clue on the bases?
My take: If it hasn’t happened now, it won’t the rest of the way. If he’s to contend for the left job next year he has to be smarter, both in the field and on the bases.

8) Daniel Murphy improving at first base?
My take: Important, because if they are confident in Murphy that’s one less thing on their plate this winter.

Sep 13

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #143; Big sports day.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

A lot of things happening today and hopefully we can talk about a lot of them. Of course, we’ve got the Mets and Phillies. Twice. What’s important about today for the Mets is the same thing that has been important for the last two months – a positive sign in this negative season.

Today, we get a chance to look at John Maine for the first time since June. His results aren’t as important as his health. If Maine shows he can get through today – he’ll get about 60 pitches – and a few more starts, it would go a long way toward the Mets’ off-season thinking. If Maine can pitch without pain, the Mets would probably tender him a contract. My feeling is they’ll probably do it anyway because they are so short on pitching and the FA market is thin that it wouldn’t hurt any. Better to sign him and hope for the best rather than let him go and watch him recover elsewhere.

It might just turn out Maine might be better suited for the bullpen, and there’s nothing wrong with learning that this month. Let’s not forget, Maine was once a 15-game winner before things went south for him last season. He’s still young enough to where the Mets shouldn’t give up the ghost on him.

MAINE: Can he come back?

MAINE: Can he come back?


Maine (5-4, 4.52 ERA) last pitched in Washington, June 6, and gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings. He was placed on the disabled list following that start.

Yesterday was supposed to be about Mike Pelfrey taking another step. Too bad it was backwards. Pelfrey gave up eight runs, including three homers, in six innings.

“I thought I made some big mistakes – mistakes over the middle part of the plate…I’m disappointed, but we came back and won,” Pelfrey said. “That takes some of it away.”

Actually, it doesn’t. Not with the season already lost. If the Mets were in a race, maybe so, because the victory would have been needed. However, at this stage, it’s about individuals being accountable and Pelfrey is a big part of the Mets’ future. For him to pitch so poorly is alarming. He is 25, and at an age when he should be making progress, after a 5-2 start through June 16, he is 10-10 with a 5.09 ERA. For his career he is 28-30 with a 4.59 ERA.

Pelfrey began the season as the No. 2 starter, but he’s performed like a back-end rotation arm.

On a bright note, David Wright hit two homers yesterday. I would like to see him finish with a flourish to get a positive feeling heading into next year. Wright changed his approach this season thinking he wouldn’t hit for power at Citi Field. It turned out he was right, but how much of that was him talking himself out of it? Wright is now tied with Gary Sheffield for the team lead with 10 homers. For his average, which is around .320, it wasn’t worth the sacrifice.

If you get frustrated with the Mets, and that’s easy to do, we could always talk some football if you’d like. If there’s interest, I don’t mind doing a football blog. I do plan on blogging the baseball postseason. There were some good conversations last fall even though the Mets were at home.

Here’s the line-up for the today’s first game in Philly:

Angel Pagan, CF
Anderson Hernandez, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Josh Thole, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
John Maine, RP