May 10

Mets have a few bright spots along the way.

The Mets wasted another Chris Capuano outing last night, but on the bright spot they has a good outing to waste. Capuano has been up-and-down this spring, but he’s had a several starts suggest he was worth the gamble.

And, before Chris Young was injured, he had his moments, too. Ditto, Pedro Beatto.

The 2011 season hasn’t been totally void of positive developments. Ike Davis has been fun to watch, Jose Thole will continue to improve,  Carlos Beltran has stayed healthy and, despite for some concentration lapses, Jose Reyes has had a good season.

You can make statistics read anything you’d like, but the 15-20 Mets have lost 11 games this season by two or fewer runs. Improvement in the RISP category and they could be a .500 team or better. It’s not that inconceivable to believe.

In every team’s development from bad to decent to good, there are steps and one of them is learning how to win the close games. Yes, they’ve won a few, but the 11 they have lost can be, and should be gnawing to them.

Hopefully, these defeats are bothering them, making them angry and more determined to concentrate and focus when the games are close. That’s why I pointed out the other day about Reyes. Sure, they won that game, but there have been others they lost where he and others fell out of focus.

The Mets are having some good things happen this year, and their losing the close games should be looked upon as a learning experience. When Sandy Alderson is considering how close the Mets are to reaching contending status, this is something he should evaluate closely.

This is not a contending team, but it isn’t one that should be blown up, either.

May 01

Mets performed as expected in April.

Where did that winning streak go? It was here a moment ago. Instead, it has morphed into a three-game losing skid, which could reach four tonight against Cliff Lee, and keep going when the San Francisco Giants come to town this week.

The Mets closed April at 11-16 and in last place in the NL East, about what most people expected from them. But what most counted on was win two, lose three. Nobody expected the Mets to be as streaky to the extreme as they have been. Losing this way is more frustrating because it preys on your frustrations and fears.

The pitching is going to dictate the Mets’ success this year, and that didn’t disappoint in April, where it was poor for most of the month save a week stretch in which it transformed the Mets into a representative baseball team. The key was Mike Pelfrey, who regressed from last summer. There were occasional bright starts, but for the most part the rotation remains a source of concern, as does the bullpen, which has proven to be highly combustible when overworked.

There’s nobody in the rotation that you feel confident will take you to the seventh. Jon Niese was solid yesterday against Roy Halladay, but who can’t see him bailing after four in his next start.

Pedro Beato and Jason Isringhausen have been dependable. Francisco Rodriguez is still a tight rope act. Bobby Parnell was supposed to be the eighth inning answer, but we don’t know much of his failures are talent or injury related. The remainder of the pen is a hold-your-breath propostion.

Offensively, Daniel Murphy has been solid and Carlos Beltran has performed more, and probably better than expected. Ike Davis has taken a positive step and Jason Bay has played well since coming off the disabled list.

David Wright still strikes out too much for me and is not dependable in the clutch. I still want Jose Reyes to strike out less and walk more.

There are days when the offense can be daunting, yet others when it is puzzling. That pretty much describes the Mets as a whole, which hasn’t been a surprise.

 

Apr 27

Mets’ April 27 lineup at Washington.

Here’s tonight’s lineup at Washington:

Jose Reyes, SS

Justin Turner, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Jason Bay, LF

Ike Davis, 1B

Scott Hairston, CF

Mike Nickeas, C

RA Dickey, RP

COMMENT: Evidently, manager Terry Collins isn’t respecting the power of the streak tonight by making changes at second, center and catcher.