Jul 18

Mets Chat Room; Santana hopes to stop slide.

Game #92 at Giants.

At 61-19, Johan Santana has been money in the bank in his career during the second half.  The Mets will need to cash a Santana check today against the Giants to avoid being swept and perhaps falling into a free fall.

Santana gave up five hits in seven innings in beating Atlanta last Sunday to prevent a sweep in that series.

Overall, the Mets have lost six of their last seven and eight of their last ten games.

“I feel much better,’’ Santana said. “Hopefully, this second half will be a strong one.’’

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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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Jul 14

Reyes a question as second half opens.

REYES: Needs to come back only when he's ready.

The second half begins with Jose Reyes’ strained oblique a pertinent question, and all because the Mets foolishly tried to rush him back into the lineup.

After treating his thyroid issue with kid gloves, Jerry Manuel did the opposite with Reyes, letting him bat right-handed against righty pitching.

Reyes still can’t bat left-handed with confidence and the Mets should dismiss any thoughts of him playing tomorrow night at San Francisco.

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Jul 11

Mets Chat Room; It’s Ace Time.

Game #88 vs. Braves.

This is what aces do, they lift a struggling team on top of their shoulders and carry them when times are dark and heavy.

The Mets conclude a surprising first half with a disappointing close this afternoon against the Atlanta Braves. The weekend began with the Mets three-games out of first. They now stand five games out fighting to keep from falling six back by the break.

After a rough stretch Santana back to pitching the shutdown way aces are supposed to and the way the Mets have always expected, with tenacity, guile and grit. Santana, a victim of poor run support for much of the first half, could have perhaps a dozen wins with any kind of offensive and bullpen help.

With the Mets’ sputtering this week, and scoring only two runs in this series, Santana can pretty much expect to do most of the heavy lifting today – as he usually does.

Jul 10

Mets Chat Room; Pelfrey searching for that feeling.

Game #87 vs. Braves

Win or lose this afternoon, Mike Pelfrey will have had a good first half. Much better than anybody would have anticipated considering how he was rocked during spring training.

However, today is more about heading into the break on a positive psychological note than it is pumping up his already impressive numbers.

At 10-3, and on pace for a 19-6 season, Pelfrey is having a breakthrough year, but is going through rough patch, almost a flashback to last year in his inability to minimize the damage and finish off innings, something he has done so well throughout the first half.

After a 9-1 start that unearthed his maturity, including a loss to the Yankees in late June, Pelfrey is 1-2 over his last four starts. That, in it is no big deal, but what has raised a red flag was an inability to finish and a lack of composure, which flared in Monday’s loss to Cincinnati.

Pelfrey unraveled after failing to get two calls and the result was seven runs in 4 2/3 innings, his second straight start in which he failed to get out of the fifth.

“I thought for the first time in over a year, I let my emotions get the best of me,’’ Pelfrey said in a candid admission. “That wasn’t very good on my part.’’

Not only did Pelfrey admit to that, but attributed his rough patch to a dead arm period.

“Every year, you just go through a little period where you don’t feel like the ball is coming out of your hand like it has that extra life on it,’’ Pelfrey said. “I feel like I’ve been going through that.’’

Over his last four starts Pelfrey has been tagged for 18 runs on 34 hits and eight walks. Not All-Star like at all, but also not a regression.

Pelfrey will attempt to put the brakes on his personal and the Mets’ team slide this afternoon against the Braves. Beating Atlanta for the third time in the first half would not only pull the Mets within three of the Braves but also give him a positive base from which to approach the second half.