Apr 03

Niese sharp against Marlins; Dickey goes for series win.

The way things started last night for Jon Niese, I didn’t expect him to last long, set alone give up only one hit in the next six innings.

NIESE: Sharp last night.

That upside I mentioned yesterday about Niese? Well, we saw it last night.  He was a definite bright spot. So was David Wright, who drove in two runs with a homer and single.

 

With Jason Bay down and the Carlos Beltran on the mend, the Mets need a good start from Wright.

Beltran, meanwhile, scored from first on a double by Ike Davis. He also doesn’t seem to have any problems moving in the outfield.

I like how the Mets came back from the first inning and after Francisco Rodriguez blew a save opportunity in the ninth. There was no sign of a fragile confidence.

Other good impressions after the first two games:

* Everybody is hustling. No malingerers in the batting box.

* Brad Emaus has looked comfortable at second.

* There’s pep in Jose Reyes’ step.

The Mets go for the series win this afternoon behind R.A. Dickey.

Here’s the batting order:

Jose Reyes, SS

Willie Harris, LF

David Wright, 3B

Ike Davis, 1B

Angel Pagan, CF

Lucas Duda, RF

Daniel Murphy, 2B

Josh Thole, C

R.A. Dickey, RP

 

Apr 01

Tonight’s Opening Day lineup for Mets

Tonight’s lineup for Mets on Opening Day at Florida against the Marlins.

 

Jose Reyes, SS

Willie Harris, LF

David Wright, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Angel Pagan, CF

Ike Davis, 1B

Brad Emaus, 2B

Josh Thole, C

Mike Pelfrey, RP

 

LINEUP COMMENTS: To get some pop in the middle of the order with Jason Bay on the disabled list, manager Terry Collins dropped projected No. 2 hitter Angel Pagan to fifth behind Carlos Beltran. There are no other surprises is the order.

It wouldn’t surprise me, depending on how long Bay is out, that Collins will juggle his order. One thing Collins might consider would be to elevate Josh Thole to second. Thole can work the count and make contact, essential for a No. 2 hitter.

 

UP NEXT 2011 Over/Unders

Feb 23

Mets to consider Murphy/Emaus platoon at second

Just because he hustles doesn’t mean Daniel Murphy will win the second base job. There are concerns about his defensive abilities, and while he has shown glimpses of offensive production, it is still a small window.

MURPHY: Competing for second base job.

The Mets like Rule 5 selection Brad Emaus’ potential, and he’ll get a nod over Justin Turner because the latter has remaining options.

The book on Emaus is he has adequate range and power potential as he hit ten homers in 309 at-bats for Toronto’s Triple A affiliate last summer.

Could he and Murphy share the job in a platoon basis? Absolutely.

Also working in Emaus’ favor is his ability to back up David Wright at third. Murphy, of course, can back up Ike Davis at first, so that platoon offers versatility.

Where does that leave Luis Castillo?

The Mets would love to deal him, but aren’t close to drawing any interest. Reports are Castillo could have reported in better shape, and although he didn’t come to camp early because of a family situation, he didn’t tell the Mets what was going on.

Manager Terry Collins said he would have preferred Castillo report early, but said that while not being aware of Castillo’s situation. A little communication would have spared Castillo a dig from his new manager.

Not a good start by Castillo, who has to be flawless to make the team.

I believe the deciding factor at second base is defense. If Murphy/Emaus show they can handle the position, it would go a long way to keeping that platoon over Castillo, whose defense skills are on a decline.

Jan 20

Collins seems refreshing

The impression in talking with Terry Collins yesterday is that he’s decisive, something we haven’t always had with Mets managers.

It’s January and Collins already named his Opening Day starter and the top five of his batting order, after which you can figure the rest out. Ask most managers simple questions this time of year about the rotation and batting order and they waffle, saying it is too early, even though the answers seem obvious.

Of course, injuries, performance and match-ups can change things, but the impression is Collins wants to use a set batting order as much as possible, something Jerry Manuel didn’t always do, even when health wasn’t an issue. And, there will be no fooling around with Jose Reyes. Collins recognizes him as a premier leadoff hitter and will ride that horse.

Collins will bunch his speed in Reyes and Angel Pagan at the top of the order, go the traditional route and use his best hitter in David Wright third, utilize his power in Carlos Beltran clean-up and protect him with a right-handed bat in Jason Bay fifth. From there he’ll go with left-handed power in Ike Davis sixth, followed by Josh Thole, the second baseman and finally the pitcher.

Collins knows the landscape about the fans’ expectations and interest this time of year and fueled it with something to talk about. I hope he maintains this approach during the season when things get rough. Who wants the Mets to have eight different batting orders in ten games?

Incidentally, Chris Young passed his physical and the team will make an announcement today or tomorrow. If healthy, he should be among the top four, with Chris Capuano and Dillon Gee competing for the fifth spot. Pat Misch is on the peripheral, but he’s out of options and his best chance of making the team is as a long reliever.

The Mets are counting on Francisco Rodriguez to be healthy and stay the closer with Bobby Parnell seemingly having the inside track as the set-up reliever.

Dec 04

Making a go with little

Sandy Alderson said it again, that the Mets have little payroll flexibility and aren’t expected to make a splash in the free-agent market.

Again, even if the Mets cut Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, they are still on the hook for $18 million between them. It’s not as if the money could be spent elsewhere.

The Mets need to find two starters, bullpen depth, a second baseman (if it is not Castillo), a back-up catcher and bench depth. Try doing that with about $10 million to spend.

There’s not much in the minor league system to help immediately. And, Ruben Tejada and Jenrry Mejia are best served in the minor leagues for this year, Alderson said. There aren’t the prospects available to make a trade similar to the one Boston did for Adrian Gonzalez. And, if there was, the Mets are committed to not spending.

Again, we can re-examine trading Jose Reyes and David Wright, but you’d be dealing your two best players. And, with Reyes, his value because of injury and lack of production the past two years, and that he’ll be a free agent after 2011, make him difficult to deal.

And, while a solid player, Wright isn’t one that would bring a boatload of talent in return. Plus, he’d leave a gaping hole at third base.

Alderson said this would be a process and he’s not lying. This is becoming more apparent as the winter meetings approach. They might be able to add a band-aid or two, but other than that, hope for 2011 is for Reyes, Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran to get healthy and continued development from players such as Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese and Ike Davis.

As of now, hope is the plan.