Aug 20

Mets Chat Room; oh boy, it’s Pittsburgh.

The Mets still haven’t won a road series against a National League team this season, but this could be the weekend.

Games #122-124 at Pirates.

Too little, too late, of course.

The Mets are in Pittsburgh tonight for the start of a three-game series, a series they should have won. Then again, there have been so many of them this season, including Houston.

There is no guarantee they’ll beat the Pirates, because afterall, they have a losing record against teams with losing records. They have a losing record on the road – a terrible record on the road. They have a losing record in one-run games and in extra-innings.

In all the benchmark statistics that dictate what kind of team they should be they have a losing record.

The Pirates always play the Mets tough at home, so why should this weekend be any different? I’ve been waiting all season for the Mets to take the next step and they haven’t.

I certainly don’t expect them to start now.

NOTE: I have been planning a trip for awhile now and won’t be around to monitor the chat room on a regular basis this weekend. Have a great weekend.

Aug 16

Looking for a silver thread ….

The Mets are 10 games behind Atlanta and below .500. They have an upcoming schedule at Houston – which is playing better since the Roy Oswalt trade – and Pittsburgh – which always plays them tough. This is their last chance to make up some ground and bring interest into September.

Frankly, while I doubt they’ll make a real run, there could be some interesting ball ahead.

Their pitching, supposedly the weak link entering the season, has been surprisingly good, and if not for Mike Pelfrey’s July slide it would be good enough to have them in contention. What has been dismal, and has since the beginning of the season has been the offense. Also weak has been the bullpen.

As the season slowly fades into disappointment and winter, let’s take a moment to look at some of the positives through 117 games:

1) The record. Seriously. Last year on this date they were 55-62 and sinking fast. David Wright had just been plunked and would be rendered useless for the rest of the season. They have made improvement and with a full season from Carlos Beltran and a productive year from Jason Bay, they’d be over .500 and within spitting distance even with their bullpen woes. Hey, you take your positives when you can.

2) Johan Santana. We’re looking at 15 victories easily with a little run support. There was a brief four-game stretch when we were wondering about his fastball and whether he was still an ace. Well, he is. There are times when I wonder if he regrets coming here, but he’s the ultimate professional and will never show it. The Mets are lucky to have him, and hopefully the younger pitchers in the rotation are learning from him. Eventually, there will be a decline, but not now.

3) Angel Pagan. He began the season behind Gary Matthews, but has evolved into the Mets’ most reliable offensive performer. He’s the best they have with RISP, has some pop, can steal a base, and has surpassed Beltran as the team’s best center fielder. What Pagan showed last year was no fluke. This is a player the Mets can build around.

4) Ike Davis. He wasn’t supposed to be here until late in the season, perhaps September, but has become one of the NL’s premier’s rookies. He hits for power and should finish with over 20 homers and plays a sparkling first base. Davis has made Daniel Murphy a footnote. First base will be his for years to come.

5) Josh Thole. Another young player who arrived ahead of schedule. The pitchers like throwing to him and he’s not an easy out at the plate. Rod Barajas is coming back, but the position is Thole’s to keep. The time he’s getting now will only help him in the future.

6) Jon Niese. The question as the fifth starter going in, Niese has become a dependable starter, perhaps the No. 2 with Pelfrey being erratic. He’s not afraid to challenge hitters and works quickly and efficiently and with remarkable poise. He’s getting more adept at making adjustments within the game. He was in demand at the trade deadline, but the Mets were wise to say no.

7) R. A. Dickey. The other shoe has yet to drop for Dickey. He’s been impressive from the outset, but none more so than rebounding against the Phillies after the same team hammered him the previous week. That’s hard to do. The way things are going, it wouldn’t surprise me if he led the team in victories before it is all over. The Mets still need to add a starter in the offseason, but not to replace Dickey.

8) Hisanori Takahashi. The numbers are night and day between Takahashi the starter and the reliever. Forced into the starter’s role, he performed admirably before being exposed. He’s great one time through the order and that should be his role. Hopefully, Pat Misch will step in and allow Takahashi to do what he does best.

9) Bobby Parnell. Still a work in progress, but he’s made strides since last season when he was yanked around between roles. I believe Parnell has what it takes to develop into a solid set-up man. The experience he’s getting now can only bring hope.

10) Mike Pelfrey. I mean the pre-July Pelfrey. For two months he was better than one could have imagined, working with confidence and command of all of his pitches. Then came July, but has last two starts have been much better, an indication he might have learned from his slide. Of all the things I’m anxious to see during the final six weeks the most is whether Pelfrey can rebound completely. It would say a lot about his maturation process if he can take something out of his adversity.

11) Ruben Tejada. There’s no questioning his defense, and although he’s not hitting now he showed some glimpses early. The Mets played with energy when he was in the lineup replacing Luis Castillo when the latter was on the disabled list. I think the Mets will be in good hands when he finally takes over for Castillo.

12) Jose Reyes. If nothing else, the Mets finally learned Reyes is a leadoff hitter and nothing else. He’s lost focus at times this season, but he’s overcome his injury problems and the team still thinks highly enough to want to sign him to an extension. Perhaps the focus will always be a problem, but when he’s on his game he’s still a dynamic presence at the top of the order.

13) David Wright. Despite a horrible pace for 176 strikeouts, which must come down, he’s also on pace to hit 24 homers and drive in 107 runs, showing an improvement over last season’s power outage. Wright has been streaky all season, but he’s still the best this franchise has to offer.

Aug 15

Mets Chat Room; where’s the hope?

Game #117 vs. Phillies

Every day I look at the standings and wonder if it’s possible. Can the Mets actually turn this thing around and make this season one to remember?

Not so much anymore.

The Braves won big today and the Mets are 9 1/2 games out. It’s double digits if they lose tonight. With each passing day it is becoming more and more that this is a season to forget.

The starting pitching is getting better, but the offense – despite its talents – is listless and stagnant. The bullpen, as we long suspected, is worn and frayed. There’s no spark. No life. No reason for hope.

The Francisco Rodriguez incident really brings this into focus. The players spoke in cliche about supporting a teammate when they should have condemned the action and demanded an apology. The manager, instead of recognizing the severity of the incident and speaking out, said he was willing to pitch him.

The owners issued an 18-work statement expressing their “disappointment” when they should have been expressing their anger. Then again, ownership hasn’t taken a leadership role all season.

Hope? Hope is not an action plan.

Aug 06

Mets Chat Room; The Last Stand.

Games #109-111 at Phillies

Here it is, the Mets’ last stand for 2010. Either they show some life and take care of business in Philadelphia or they can say goodbye for the summer. An awful lot of things have to happen for the Mets to make the playoffs, but the bottom line is they have to win two of every three down the stretch to have a chance.

That’s .666 baseball. The devil you say.

That’s a tall order for a .500 team, and one that has shown little sign of life for over a month now. One that hasn’t won two straight games since late June. Mathematics say the team is alive; mathematics also say the odds are getting longer and longer.

On a side note, the Chat Room is open but I had to go to Ohio to visit family this weekend. I set it up so the Chat Room will be open but I won’t be able to monitor the games.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Aug 04

Mets Chat Room; Another gut check for Pelfrey.

There was a time this season when the Mets could count on a win, or at least a good chance at one, when they sent Mike Pelfrey to the mound. For the most part, until late June the Mets knew they’d get a quality start from him.

No longer.

Game #108 vs. Braves

Pelfrey surged to a 9-1 start and was on the cusp of dominance until he lost his mechanics, and not shortly after, his confidence. He’s been in a tailspin since with little indication of snapping out of his funk.

Pelfrey hasn’t gone through six innings in any of his last six starts. In that span he is 0-3 with a 9.59 ERA and hitters are batting an astronomical .446 against him.

Included in that span was a 4-0 loss to the Braves, July 10, when he gave up four runs on 12 hits in four innings.  Pelfrey didn’t get a decision in last Friday’s 9-6 loss to Arizona in which he gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Pelfrey’s problems start early. He didn’t allow a run in the first inning in his first 11 starts, but 16 in his next 10.

“Everybody else in the rotation has been throwing the ball great and I’ve kind of taken a step back from early in the year,’’ said Pelfrey. “I definitely plan on getting this thing turned around and back on track so we can start winning some games.’’

A win tonight at Atlanta will pull the Mets within 5 ½ games of the Braves with a three-game series coming up this weekend at Philadelphia.