May 10

May 10.10: Perez to stay in rotation for now; plus tonight’s lineup

I have asked the question more times than I can remember: What is wrong with Oliver Perez?

I don’t know the answer, and I don’t think anybody – especially Perez – has the answer. After another meltdown Sunday against the Giants, the debate is again whether Perez should remain in the rotation.

Manager Jerry Manuel said the situation bears consideration, but for now Perez will get another start, Friday at Florida, to try to cash in on his potential check.

Presumably, the weather will be better, but despite the moaning in that direction, it’s no excuse. The weather was bad for everybody and as a professional he needs to overcome the elements.

After a good first, Perez quickly unraveled. You can always tell when Perez doesn’t have it, as the game slows down to a glacier-like pace.

That Manuel said he’ll have to evaluate the situation is encouraging news because there’s nothing about Perez that is encouraging.

HERE’S TONIGHT’S LINE-UP

Pagan, CF
Castillo, 2B
Reyes, SS
Bay, LF
Wright, 3B
Davis, 1B
Francoeur, RF
Barajas, C
Maine, RP

May 04

May 4.10: Seeing is believing.

This falls under the `I’ll believe it when I see it’ category. Carlos Beltran is taking soft toss BP in Port St. Lucie and is hopeful of running, then resuming baseball activities later this week. “It all begins with running,” Beltran told reporters in Florida. There is no timetable for Beltran’s return until he begins running. Until then, everything is merely wishful thinking.

I thought of Beltran last night while watching the Mets’ offense sputter in losing to the Reds. Oliver Perez did his job, and so did the bullpen, but the game was lost at the plate. The Mets were cooked the last two games in Philadelphia, but last night was a winnable game, and losses like that ultimately come back to haunt a team.

Last night also reinforced the streaky nature of this team. It is capable of winning seven straight one week and going on a losing streak the next. As evidenced by their record, the Mets are barely a win-one, lose-one type of team.

Save for a few games, the offense has been inconsistent all season, and Beltran’s absence is a big part of the reason.

Losing Beltran forced Jerry Manuel to juggle his line-up by moving Jose Reyes to third. The problem is Reyes is not a No. 3 hitter and it has weakened the leadoff position. Reyes is not playing his normal game, two hits last night notwithstanding. Nor is his replacement, Angel Pagan, a leadoff hitter.

May 02

May 2.10: Chat Room, Game #25 at Phillies: On the rebound.

It’s good to be back. I see we didn’t miss much yesterday. For nearly two weeks everything broke right for the Mets, then it unraveled in dominating fashion Saturday. Getting blitzed by ten runs is being dominated as convincing as it gets.

The Mets won the opening game of the series behind Jon Niese Friday, and the Phillies rolled behind Roy Halladay Saturday in Mike Pelfrey’s first loss of the season. That brings us to Johan Santana, the pitcher the Mets count on to make things right and plenty went wrong yesterday.

Tonight it’s Santana (3-1, 2.08 ERA) against Jamie Moyer (2-2, 5.25). Santana has won his last two games, giving up one run over his last 21 1/3 innings. Santana has gone at least seven innings in seven of his last eight starts against the Phillies – going 4-0 – so the Mets have reason to be optimistic tonight.

The streak wasn’t going to last forever, and logically one had to figure they weren’t going to sweep the Phillies. But, if this series was a test, so is tonight as it will be interesting to see how they respond from yesterday. Tonight is a gut check on several levels.

Apr 28

April 28.10: Perez to stay in rotation.

You knew the question would be asked: Will Oliver Perez stay in the rotation? You probably knew the answer, too.

“I’m going to say with Ollie,” manager Jerry Manuel said after last night’s game.

The Mets have few options to go with instead of Perez, who coughed up a three-run lead and didn’t make it out of the fourth. One option, Hisanori Takahashi, who relieved Perez and struck out five in 3 1/3 innings, has proven to be so valuable out of the pen.

They can also dip down to Buffalo for Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey or Pat Misch.

Any might be an interesting choice for a game, but none can match Perez’s potential when he’s on. It wasn’t that long ago that Perez came up big in a start at St. Louis. The Mets lost, but Perez was strong that night.

It looks like it will be another summer of the Good Ollie vs. the Bad Ollie, but you knew that, too.

Apr 26

April 26.10: Not your old Mike Pelfrey.

As the pitches mounted, and they did rather quickly last night, it was tempting to think, “well, he’s back to being the old Mike Pelfrey.”

The pitches added up to base runners – ten in all – but, other than the angst, not much else. Something strange happened: Pelfrey got a pop up to end one inning; double plays to end two more; and a couple of strikeouts also bailed him.

While one never wants your pitcher to get in trouble, the telling sign is the ability to escape and that’s what Pelfrey did last night. He didn’t just minimize damage, he avoided it all together. That’s something he didn’t do last season, or in spring training of this year for that matter.

Pelfrey is getting outs on his splitter, a secondary pitch he has been working on. There will be times this year when the pitch might flatten, but for now it is working and it is exciting to see his development.

Pelfrey has been on hot streaks before, but this one has a different feel. This one comes with the sense of maturity and progression to the next step. This one has the sense of his development into a pitcher, leaving the thrower behind.

****

The Mets did a solid yesterday when they invited fans to move into whatever seats they wished. OK, you got to stay in them for a few innings, but still the gesture was nice. Also, the Mets announced anybody with yesterday’s game can exchange them for complimentary tickets to a game during the San Diego and Detroit series in June.

For more information, call 718.507.TIXX

Lousy weather all day today in Queens, but tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers is still on.

****

Before we get all get carried away with Ike Davis, just think back to last night and how Tommy Hanson’s fall-off-the-table made him look foolish. Other pitchers will take notice and until Davis proves he can consistently hit the breaking ball, that’s all he’ll face.

****