Jul 30

Bay likely for DL

It is expected Jason Bay will be placed on the disabled list today with lingering concussion symptoms and likely will be replaced by Jesus Feliciano.

Bay going on the DL means it is less likely the Mets will deal Jeff Francoeur this weekend. However, if the Mets slide out of contention expect Francoeur to be dealt in August in a waiver trade.

Jul 22

Mets Chat Room; patchwork lineup and Takahashi tonight.

Backed by a patchwork lineup, the Mets’ Hisanori Takahashi is being asked not only to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, but stop a free fall.

Game #96 at Dodgers

The Mets have lost six of seven since the break – and should’ve lost the game they won – and eight of ten. Once 11 games over .500, tonight they are only three.

They are hitting .192 with 15 runs in the seven games since the break, prompting tonight’s sitting of Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Rod Barajas. Enter Jeff Francoeur and Chris Carter in the outfield and Josh Thole behind the plate.

Francoeur, acknowledged as a team leader, has been in a long funk even before losing his job with Beltran’s return from the DL. His public image is one of happy-go-lucky, but in the end it’s all about playing time and Francoeur said he’d welcome a trade. Perhaps even requested.

Against that backdrop is Takahashi, who didn’t make it out of the third in his last start, Saturday at San Francisco.

Impressive when he first entered the rotation as a fill-in, Takahashi has struggled, going 1-2 with a 10.90 ERA in his last four starts. In that span he’s given up seven homers.

This stretch is why the Mets believe he’s better suited for the bullpen, which is why it is surprising he’s getting the ball despite other options.

The Mets won’t give Pat Misch a start and the Mets refuse to start Oliver Perez, despite giving him medical clearance. Jerry Manuel said Perez will work out of the bullpen, something he proved last night he’s not equipped to do.

Jul 15

Mets Chat Room; Beltran returns.

Game #89 at Giants

The Mets welcome Carlos Beltran back to the lineup tonight after a lengthy stint and rehab assignment following knee surgery.

Beltran appeared in 14 rehab games for Single-A St. Lucie. He said he’s pain free, but that’s not to say he’s rust free.

“I think I swung the bat well, but at the big league level it’s a different story,’’ Beltran said.  “I do feel like I need to make adjustments. It will take me time. I don’t expect to come here and rake. I just expect to come here and like I say, do my part. Being able to contribute any way I can, and I believe in that.’’

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May 31

Mets Chat Room: Frenchy and Takahashi are hot.

GAME #52 at Padres

After dropping two of three in Milwaukee, the Mets continue their unlikely road trip tonight in San Diego against the National League’s best team.

They’ll be doing it with a suddenly hot Jeff Francoeur and lefthander Hisanori Takahashi, who has gone from the bullpen to a mainstay in the rotation.

Francoeur has six hits in the last two games after manager Jerry Manuel gave him the advice of not listening to everybody else’s suggestions.

It got to the point where Francoeur was thinking about too many things – head, hands and feet placement – instead of just seeing the ball.

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May 21

May 21.10: Chat Room, Game #43 vs. Yankees: Mets come limping home.

Both the Mets and Yankees limp into this weekend’s series at Citi Field, but as usual there are more issues in Queens than the Bronx.

“I always look forward to these series,’’ Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “You find out where you are as a team, and how you perform in that type of environment.’’

Doesn’t he know by now?

The Mets, despite winning last night at Washington, are reeling, almost in a free fall, and could very well be there after back-to-back series against the Yankees and Phillies.

The last-place Mets are coming off a 2-6 road trip in which they lost, by injury or performance, three-fifths of their rotation. Jon Niese, the most consistent of the three, went on the disabled list and could be joined there by John Maine, who was yanked after five pitches last night. Oliver Perez was exiled to the bullpen.

Journeyman knuckleballer R.A. Dickey replaced Perez and performed well, and long reliever Hisanori Takahashi will start tonight in place of Niese against the Yankees.
Takahashi’s move to the rotation, even temporarily, further strains the bullpen. Fernando Nieve and Pedro Feliciano, so effective in April, have been hit lately.

Further complicating matters has been an unproductive offense, which is relying on a journeyman catcher Rod Barajas and rookie first baseman Ike Davis because of the season-long power drought of Jason Bay and David Wright’s assault on the strikeout record.

Bay, although he’s been making contact lately, in on pace for four homers, while Wright is on pace for 223 strikeouts. Jeff Francoeur and Jose Reyes also aren’t hitting.

As bad as things have been, one can logically assume if Wright and Reyes, the cornerstones to the franchise, were hitting according to expectations, the Mets would be over .500 and there wouldn’t be so many rumblings about Manuel’s job security.

Despite COO Jeff Wilpon’s impromptu meeting in Atlanta in which he said he wasn’t about to fire Manuel or GM Omar Minaya, the whispers persist and are even louder after last night’s Manuel-Maine dugout blowout.

“When the owner comes down, you know something is going on,’’ said Francoeur. “But at the same time, you have to be professional. At times it can be tough, all the speculation, but I try to just play. That’s the easiest way to deal with it.’’

Manuel didn’t do much to get Wright and Francoeur on his side when he rested both this week. Both expressed displeasure at sitting, but neither criticized Manuel.

Also, neither offered much verbal support.

Before he was sacked, Willie Randolph had more verbal support from his players than Manuel has received, but the players are still hustling. That is a saving grace, but will it be enough if the Mets are pasted by the Yankees and Phillies?

Here’s tonight’s Mets’ line-up behind Takahashi:

Jose Reyes, SS
Alex Cora, 2B
Jason Bay, LF
Ike Davis, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Angel Pagan, CF
Rod Barajas, C
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Hisanori Takahashi, LP

NOTE: Luis Castillo was scratched from the line-up with a bruised left heel. … After throwing five innings in relief last night, Raul Valdes is not expected to be available for the Yankees series. … With Takahashi starting, R.A. Dickey will be the long man.

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