Aug 15

Decisions to be made as Mets begin series in San Diego.

Lucas Duda is at first base tonight in San Diego, but manager Terry Collins said that might change soon and he could be moved to right field for the rest of the season.

With the Mets skidding and now four games under .500 and 11.5 games behind in the wild-card hunt with four teams to jump and two games from the cellar, what was expected is being realized and we’re on the slow slide into winter.

It’s time the Mets’ decisions are made with 2012 in mind.

A couple of decisions involve Duda and Ike Davis. The expectation is Davis will play first base next season, but his ankle is a question. The current stance is to wait several weeks before deciding on whether microfracture surgery will be necessary.

The injury has not improved, and as with Carlos Beltran, there’s a strong possibility surgery will eventually be needed. The healing time for this surgery, as it was with Beltran, is often lengthy and waiting another month only puts him behind that much in his rehab.

That’s why the surgery decision should be made sooner rather than later.

If Davis comes back he’ll play first, the logical place to play Duda would be in right field. Duda has not played there enough to present a big enough window to prove he’s that answer.

That’s why, with Nick Evans capable of playing first, Duda should be in the outfield for as much as possible.

If Duda busts out in right – as Daniel Murphy did in left a couple of years ago – the Mets would want to know that know that before starting their off-season shopping.

The Mets are also in position now to make decisions on five roster slots. Jason Bay, Chris Capuano, D.J. Carrasco, Willie Harris and Angel Pagan have already cleared waivers, meaning they can be traded to any team until the end of the month. Teams routinely put players on waivers to ascertain interest. It also indicates a willingness by the Mets to deal these players.

Bay, we know, because of his gagging contract, isn’t going anywhere. However, Capuano and Pagan could provide value to a contender. Based on their performance so far, the Mets must have a sense of what they want to do next year. If there’s limited interest in bringing them back, then they should get what they can for them.

 

Nov 12

Bringing back Feliciano not a given

One of the Mets’ most interesting off-season decisions will be what to do with Pedro Feliciano. The departure of Hisanori Takahashi doesn’t necessarily mean bringing back Feliciano is a formality.

FELICIANO: Not a given he'll be back.

Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel wore down Feliciano, pushing the envelope with him against right-handed hitters over the past three years. Feliciano led the league in appearances for three straight seasons with 86, 88 and 92 in 2008, 2009 and last year, respectively.

“The Mets over used him because they didn’t really have any other better options against right-handed hitters,” one scout said. “There were signs he was wearing down. He’d be better off strictly against lefties.”

He’ll be 35 in 2011 and if he doesn’t have more of a refined role, there are concerns he could wear down. In three more innings pitched last season than in 2009, Feliciano’s ERA rose by a third of a run, and he gave up 15 more hits and 12 more walks.

Feliciano, as much as he wanted an expanded role, proved vulnerable against right-handed hitters with a .336 average against compared to .264 from the previous year.

Feliciano’s pre-All-Star ERA was 2.34, but his post-All-Star ERA was 4.50, including 5.23 in July and 6.75 in August when the season slipped away from the Mets.

The shelf life of a reliever is short to begin with, and considering his age and that there are breakdown signs already, don’t be surprised if the Mets cut him loose and looked for a younger, cheaper arm elsewhere.

Sep 22

New Chat Room; Niese tries to regain form.

Game #152 at Marlins

To access the New Chat Room, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left.

At one time we were considering Jon Niese one of the bright spots to this season. That’s when  he was 6-2. He’s now 9-9 after losing four of this last five decisions.

Lack of run support has only been a part of it. Niese has shown a propensity lately to give up the big hit to let an inning get away from him. He’s still young and learning, but minimizing the damage is something he must improve on.

As of now, Niese will enter spring training with Mike Pelfrey and RA Dickey in the rotation, with the other two spots to be filled.

Aug 10

Mets Chat Room; Pelfrey’s slide continues.

It was June, not that long ago when the Mets were surging – 11 games over .500 – and Mike Pelfrey and Ubaldo Jimenez were mentioned in the same sentence as budding pitching stars.

Game #112 vs. Rockies

Jimenez (17-2, 2.61) has been hit briefly, but still has electrifying numbers. Pelfrey, meanwhile, has gone from 9-1 to 10-6 with a 4.16 ERA. Pelfrey’s ERA has spiked nearly two runs a game, and it was eight starts ago that he pitched six complete innings.

Tired arm, tipping his pitches, poor mechanics, losing control of this splitter and sinker and a psychological step backward are just some of the partial explanations for his slide.

There’s not just one answer, but all of the above have contributed to Pelfrey’s slide to where he’s one again a reliability question.

The Mets have been waiting for Pelfrey to take that next step bit of five seasons now. At 200 innings and a 13-11 record in 2008 was a positive. Pelfrey won his first four decisions the following year to give the believe things might have sunk in, but he went 6-12 the rest of the way and the same of problems resurfaced.

Pelfrey seemed to put it together through most of June. He pitched quickly and efficiently; he had command of his secondary, breaking pitching; and he had confidence in his fastball.

All that’s gone now, and based on performance both Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey are ahead.

The slide didn’t happen overnight and neither will the recovery. The Mets falling out of contention coincided with Pelfrey’s fall.

Now, it’s in the remaining two months where Pelfrey needs to right himself and remove his name from being an off-season question.

Jul 28

Mets Chat Room; Santana goes for series win.

Isn’t that the way it always is?

Game #101 vs. Cardinals

When the Mets flourished in June, Johan Santana struggled, going 1-3 with a 4.68 ERA. Then as the Mets hit the skids in July Santana has been brilliant at 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA.

But all that talk of him losing it in June was just that as Santana proves that on any given night he can be as great as anybody.

At 8-5, his record is mediocre, but his 2.79 ERA suggests he’s anything but.

Santana has a no decision in eight of his 21 starts, with the Mets going on to lose five of those games.  And in those games he’s given up a total of nine runs, three times not given up a run. There have been nine games in which the Mets scored three or less runs.

The Mets are currently 6 ½ games behind Atlanta. Reverse the outcome of the no-decisions in games lost by the Mets in which he’s pitched then the race has a different complexion to it.