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.

Jun 23

Would you deal Pagan?

I’m throwing this out there for you to mull over, much like Omar Minaya will be asked to do in the upcoming weeks.

PAGAN: Teams like him.

Other teams aren’t stupid, they see what is going on with the Mets rotation and in their outfield. They see, like most of us here, that the rotation, although going well now is not a sure thing. We don’t know how long Hisanori Takahashi and RA Dickey will continue this run. They also have no interest in sending a veteran pitcher to the Mets for the likes of John Maine and Oliver Perez.

The Seattle Mariners are on record for saying they want major league ready hitters; players they can immediately plug into their lineup.

The Mets have precious few of those to offer, but there is one whose trade value is high. Don’t think about Carlos Beltran. With his injury history and salary, he’s not going anywhere.

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Jun 08

Mets Chat Room: Wright takes hot bat into SD series.

Game #58 vs. Padres

A strikeout machine for much of this season, David Wright enters tonight’s game against the San Diego Padres on a big-time tear, with 13 hits in his last 25 at-bats – most of them scalded.

During that span Wright only struck out four times, three of them last Wednesday at San Diego. He did not strike out during the Florida series.

Wright said he was all over the place earlier this season, but has become more selective over the past week not chasing the sliders away. He’s also been quicker with the bat and getting to the inside fastball.

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Jun 07

Expect Jesus Felciano shortly.

In what has the potential to be a feel-good story of the highest degree, the Mets are expected to call up 31-year, 13-year minor league outfielder Jesus Feliciano from Class AAA Buffalo for the San Diego series.

If the Mets make the announcement today, it would fall on his 31st birthday.

FELICIANO: Another bat is coming.

“All he does is hit,’’ said a minor league scout. “The issue is where to play him. They’ve had him play some center, but he doesn’t have great range and he doesn’t have the arm to play right.’’

The Mets have had Feliciano play center in preparing him to back up Angel Pagan, but because of his range questions that might be better off on the road. Initially, he might be used to give Jason Bay a day off or as a pinch-hitter.

Feliciano, who had five hits Saturday – his second five-hit game of the season – leads the International League in hitting at .392. Amazingly, despite his age, he’s never even had the proverbial cup of coffee in the major leagues, most likely because he doesn’t fit the speed or power prototypes.

But, he does stroke line drives.

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Jun 04

Mets DFA Matthews

MATTHEWS: Wasn't contributing

Outfielder Gary Matthews was designated for assignment this afternoon and catcher Omir Santos was recalled from the minor leagues. Odd choice to carry three catchers. I would have thought they’d bring up outfielder Jesus Feliciano, who has been scalding the ball at Class AAA Buffalo.

Matthews had been playing terribly and getting less and less opportunities. Fans and posters here have been calling for his release.

Still no word on whether Luis Castillo has been placed on the DL. If so, expect infielder Ruben Tejada to be promoted from Buffalo.

The Mets won’t likely officially activate tomorrow’s starter, Jon Niese, until game time.