May 13

May 13.10: Chat Room, Game #35 at Marlins: Classic pitcher’s duel.

The Mets begin an eight-game road trip tonight in Florida in a classic pitcher’s duel: Johan Santana vs. Josh Johnson.

Something has to break because both pitchers dominate the opposition, with Santana 6-1 with a 1.66 ERA in eight career starts against the Marlins. Johnson is not the type of pitcher a team in a hitting funk likes to face. He is 7-1 against the Mets, including 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA in five home starts against them.

The Mets’ lone victory over Johnson came Opening Day at Citi Field. The Marlins, however, won the next two games of that series.

The Mets need to get Jose Reyes going. Reyes is mired in a season-long slump, which hasn’t been helped by the move to third in the batting order. Reyes is batting .228 with a .283 on-base percentage. He is hitting .242 since being moved out of the leadoff spot.

Clearly, he’s not performing well hitting third. He’s trying to do too much with the ball. He’s better off going back to first where he’s more comfortable. Hitting is all about comfort, and Reyes looks uncomfortable at the plate. He’s reaching for pitches and is swinging with more of an uppercut than he has in the past.

However, manager Jerry Manuel is insistent on leaving Reyes third in the order ahead of Jason Bay. Manuel’s theory is Bay will see more fastballs with Reyes on ahead of him. The problem is Reyes isn’t on much these days. And, Bay only has one homer on the season, so where he has benefitted I’m not sure.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Johan Santana, LP

NOTE: I have my class tonight and won’t be home until nine. Hope to see you then.

May 12

May 12.10: Chat Room, Game #34 vs. Nationals: Keeping the edge.

The delicate flip side to an emotional victory is the possibility of a let down. The Mets will attempt to guard against that this afternoon against the Washington Nationals at wet Citi Field after last night’s dramatic eighth-inning, six-run rally.

The Mets’ offense finally awoke and rallied from five runs down in their largest comeback of the season.

The Mets will go with Mike Pelfrey (4-1, 2.65), who gave up three runs in 7 1/3 innings in his last start, Friday against San Francisco. Pelfrey didn’t get a decision, but complained of tightness in his right shoulder for the second time in two starts.

With the weather wet and cool, it will be interesting to see how Pelfrey responds.

The Mets will sit second Luis Castillo, who has a bruised left foot.

Here’s today’s line-up for the 18-15 Mets behind Pelfrey:

Angel Pagan, CF
Alex Cora, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Mike Pelfrey, RP

May 12

May 12.10: Davis goes all out.

There’s only one way to play the game and that’s all out, which is what Ike Davis has shown us during his three-week Mets career.

Last night marked the third time he’s gone over the dugout railing to make a catch, this time it was a game-ender.

Said Davis: “It’s not that far a drop. I’d rather end the game than worry about getting a bruise.’’

More telling, is Davis said he’d make the same effort regardless of the score.

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Was last night a breakout game for Jason Bay?

“I would like to say yes, but I can’t stand here and tell you that everything is hunky dory,’’ said Bay, who had three singles and a bases-loaded walk. “It’s a feel thing, and I am starting to feel a lot better.’’
Bay has been struggling all season, the first of a four-year, $66 million deal. He entered the game batting .248 and ended it at .263, but with still only one homer.

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Luis Castillo is playing with an orthopedic wrap on his left foot to protect a bone bruise that has bothered him since spring training.

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How much playing time Chris Carter gets remains to be seen, but for now it looks as if it will be as a pinch-hitter. With Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur had productive games last night so they probably won’t rest, but it is a day game today so you never can tell.

Carter delivered a RBI double last night in the Mets’ six-run eighth inning. “It’s a great feeling,’’ Carter said. “It’s really special. I definitely felt like part of the team right there.’’

May 11

May 11.10: Chat Room, Game #33 vs. Nationals: Trying to jumpstart offense against Olson.

The Mets will be trying to get their offense on track tonight against the Washington Nationals as they seek to break a two-game home losing streak.

Jon Niese (1-1, 3.60) goes against the Nationals’ Scott Olson in a duel of left-handers. Niese coming off a no-decision in his last start when he gave up four runs and a career-high 12 hits in six innings last Wednesday in an extra-inning loss at Cincinnati.

Niese is 0-2 with a 3.79 ERA in seven starts at Citi Field, but has never faced Washington.

The Mets have given Niese 28 runs in his six starts, but 15 came in two of them so they’ve been all or nothing with him.

The Mets’ stagnant offense of late will try to get it going against a familiar patsy in Olson, who after his first career win against them has lost six straight with a 5.22 ERA in nine starts.

Here’s tonight’s line-up

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Jon Niese, LP

NOTE: I have class tonight and will be gone until nine. I hope you stop by and post to keep the room moving until then. Thanks. John

May 08

May 8.10: Chat Room, Game #30 vs. Giants: Santana goes; Pelfrey still tight.

The weather is breaking up and the Mets and Giants should be set to go on time this afternoon at Citi Field.

Johan Santana, coming off his implosion last Sunday in Philadelphia, will start for the Mets. You know Santana will come out amped after Philly. He can’t be happy stewing for a week after a nine-run inning.

Having Santana going after last night has to make the Mets feel good about winning this series.

What a remarkable game last night was, one of the best in years. It had drama, excitement, great pitching, clutch hitting and leather flashing defense.

Lost in the buzz of the Rod Barajas’ game-winning homer – he and Ike Davis each hit two – and Davis’ catch over the dugout railing was the job of Mike Pelfrey, who pitched into the eighth inning. The Giants had chances to break open the game but Pelfrey neutralized most threats.

For the second straight game, Pelfrey said he still experienced tightness in his shoulder, but would start Wednesday against Washington.

I proposed the question whether the Mets pushed the envelope with Pelfrey. As well as Pelfrey pitched last night, that he still has tightness is not a good sign.

Sitting out today’s game is Barajas, who has a bruised left hand on a catcher’s interference play when Eli Whiteside swung at a pitchout.

Prior to the game, Giants catcher Bengie Molina told SNY he wanted to come to the Mets. He was upset because the Mets wouldn’t increase their one-year, $5-million offer, but signed a one-year contract for $500,000 to stay with the Giants.

If he really wanted to play for the Mets, he’d be here. However, the Mets’ catching has been superb this year with Barajas leading the team in homers.

Here’s today’s line-up for the 16-13 Mets behind Santana:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Henry Blanco, C
Johan Santana, LP