Jul 14

Mets Matters: Rough Start To Second Half

The Mets limped into the break and continued that luck into the second half.

It began with Dillon Gee undergoing shoulder surgery and continued with Frank Francisco aggravating his strained left oblique. He’ll be out indefinitely.

Then there was last night’s game, which began with a 36-pitch first inning from Chris Young, who gave up five runs in three innings.

Let’s take a look at them individually:

1. GEE:  Underwent surgery Friday to repair an artery in his right shoulder in St. Louis and will be discharged from Barnes-Jewish Hospital on Tuesday or Wednesday. In all probability Gee is done for the year. Miguel Batista could take his spot in the rotation for a few starts and the Mets could dip in the minors for another starter. The odds are slim the Mets will make a trade, but if they do they won’t give up any of their highly touted pitching prospects such as Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler.

2. FRANCISCO: Oblique injuries, as the Mets learned with Jose Reyes, have a tendency to linger. While there doesn’t appear to be a drop off with Bobby Parnell assuming the closer duties, losing Francisco weakens an already thin bullpen. If the Mets do something prior to the trade deadline, it will be adding a reliever.

3. YOUNG: Last night was a serious red flag. Having already lost Gee, the Mets can’t afford  a problem with one of their starters. They know Young is a five, six-inning starter tops. Last night he wasn’t even that good.

 

Jul 13

Mets’ First Half Disappointments; Don’t Forget Pelfrey

No evaluation of the Mets is complete without a list of disappointments. While 46-40 at the break, the Mets have more to be happy about than not.  However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t laments.

PELFREY: Gone?

Had everything broken right in the first half, the Mets could be sitting on top of the NL East.

Here’s what went wrong:

The struggling bullpen: Most of Sandy Alderson’s off-season tinkering was made with improving the bullpen in mind. Frank Francisco has pitched well enough, but is a house of cards. He’s coming off a strained oblique, so there are no guarantees in the second half.  Set-up man Jon Rauch has also been hurt an ineffective.

Mike Pelfrey’s injury: Considering how well the Mets’ rotation has performed, is this a disappointment?  You’d have to say yes, because a well-functioning Pelfrey should be worth at least five victories. Compounding the disappointment is the injury to Dillon Gee, which could keep him out the remainder of the season.

Dillon Gee’s injury: Gee will have surgery to repair an artery in his shoulder Friday and could miss the rest of the year. The Mets have little depth in the farm system and are reluctant to part with their premier prospects.  The Mets, who will temporarily patch things with Miguel Batista, have two weeks before the trade deadline.

Jason Bay’s slump and injury: Is it really a disappointment when the expectations were so low to begin with? Probably not, but the team severely lacks right-handed pop. Bay should be activated from the disabled list within the next two weeks. GM Sandy Alderson said the need for right-handed power must be supplied from Bay. On a positive note, Bay’s injury should keep him from getting the at-bats needed for an option to kick in.

Ike Davis’ slump: Davis is starting to hit, but struggled most of the first half, almost to the point of the Mets considering sending him down to work on his swing. Their thinking in not doing so was the belief he already knows how to hit minor league pitching.

Andres Torres’ slump and injury: The Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan gone, Torres represents what little speed the Mets possess. Kirk Nieuwenhuis filled in well, but struggled the past three weeks.

Jul 08

Mets’ Chemistry Will Keep Bobby Parnell Out Of Closer Role — For Now

The Mets spent a good bit of time speaking of team chemistry as for a primary reason why they have played so well in the first half. You’ll hear more about that today, and deservedly so.

PARNELL: Has been terrific.

It is for that reason why Bobby Parnell – who has been pitching lights out lately – will relinquish the closer role once Frank Francisco is able to come off the disabled list. For the same reason why Jason Bay went back to left when he last came off the DL, is the same reason why Parnell will stop working the ninth – chemistry.

The Mets have been a tranquil bunch the first three months – with their aggressiveness limited to the field – and Terry Collins won’t mess with that state. The Mets signed Francisco to be their closer, and as long as he’s physically able, Collins is apt to keep it that way.

The thing that could alter that is Francisco’s injury lingering, but reports have him coming back shortly after the break.

Parnell has pitched well in the role, well enough to stay there and well enough to prove he can do the job, but chemistry is a fragile thing and Collins won’t tamper with it now.

Jul 07

Mets Matters: Dillon Gee Tries To Reignite Club

Teams cannot live by late inning rallies alone. Last night’s ninth was compelling, but the truth is the Mets would have preferred a strong game from Johan Santana and forego the drama. Maybe Dillon Gee will give them a strong outing, something he hasn’t done often this season.

Gee (5-7, 4.34 ERA) will go against Jeff Samarrdzja  (6-7, 4.77) at 4:10 p.m. In his last start,  Gee lasted a season-low five innings, giving up four earned runs on nine hits and two walks in Chicago, June 26.

More Mets Matters:

 * Santana gave up a career-high 13 hits last night. Lately, he’s been beaten by a big inning. Santana used to pitch his way out of trouble and minimize the damage, but that wasn’t the case last night. Worry level on Santana? He’ll have extended rest because of the break, so wait until one or two starts before you start to worry. Santana insisted his problems weren’t related to a play at first when he twisted his ankle.
* The Post is reporting lefty reliever Josh Edgin will be promoted from Triple-A Buffalo shortly after the break. early in the second half. Edgin threw 10.1 scoreless innings in spring training.
* It is believed both Jason Bay and Frank Francisco will be activated from the disabled list after the break. Both will play minor league rehab games first. Of the two, there’s more a need for Francisco.
* Andres Torres is still out with back spasms, but will avoid going on the DL>
Jun 26

Bobby Parnell Now Mets Closer

We’ve been here before: The Mets will use Bobby Parnell as their closer while Frank Francisco is on the DL. The Mets once had visions of Parnell starting, but that fizzled. He’s been tried as the closer several times, including late last season, but never grasped the job.

Parnell got the opportunity last September after Jason Isringhausen earned his 300th save, but only converted three of seven opportunities. That forced the Mets to go after Jon Rauch and Francisco last winter in the FA market.

Collins has handled Parnell conservatively this season and believes he’s ready for another shot. In 36 appearances, Parnell is 1-1 with a 3.19 ERA with 31 strikeouts.

“I think his confidence is much better,” Collins told reporters in Chicago. “I think his experience doing it already is going to help him this year. So he’s going to get that chance.

“I wanted him to have that confidence. That’s why throughout this whole first half, when we mixed and matched who was going to pitch where, Bobby was absolutely dominant in that seventh-inning spot, where he was coming in and mowing guys down. So his confidence was high.”

Then the defense bailed on him in Washington which led to a couple of blown save opportunities.

Parnell attributed his success this season to taking something off his fastball. He’s still in the mid-90′s, but with better control.

“I’ve just got to keep doing what I’ve been doing,” Parnell said. “I’ve had good success with that. I try not to overthrow. I’m just trying to throw strikes in the bottom of the zone and flip a couple of curveballs up there and get them off balance.”