Sep 11

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #141; Should have meant something.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The Mets are in Philadelphia tonight for the start of a series that when the schedule was released, should have meant something. Frankly, it was just around the All-Star break when the feeling was surfacing the season would have a sour ending.

Before the end of July, it was obvious the season was lost.

The 2009 season is in its last breaths for the Mets, and manager Jerry Manuel tried to stress upon his team the need for finishing strong and upbeat. Manuel held a closed-door meeting prior to last night’s game and the team responded by getting blown out.

“I just wanted to be sure that we stay concentrating on what’s ahead,’’ Manuel said. “And, despite where we are in the standings, even though the end is very near, the quest for a championship continues.

“You have to try and prepare that mindset, despite the conclusion of the season being so close. There are enough players here who we feel are going to be a part of this, who still have to think in that mindset of championship.’’

The Class of the Division

The Class of the Division


Toward that end, Manuel wants to see an inspired series against the Phillies, but perhaps more importantly, he wants them to see and absorb how their nemesis plays the game. Usually, the Phillies play an alert, aggressive, fundamental brand of baseball, something the Mets frequently do not.

As gifted as the Mets think they are, and as dominant as they sometimes can be, too often they have this attitude where they can just throw their gloves on the field and just win. How the Phillies dissed the Mets last year in the playoffs with the Shane Victorino simulated home run trot of Jose Reyes, and Cole Hamels, “chokers,’’ comment, it is apparent they don’t respect Manuel’s team all that much.

More to the point, the Phillies know they can beat the Mets and simply believe like a hollow barrel, they make the most noise.

It would be nice to see the Mets play inspired ball this weekend. And, it is quite possible they might. However, it would be nicer to see them play inspired ball and finish the season that way. All too often, the Mets have spurted only to fizzle.

That’s not the makings of a championship caliber team, something the Mets have readily shown us the past three seasons.

MURPHY: Not a lot of happy moments this year for Mets and Murphy.

MURPHY: Not a lot of happy moments this year for Mets and Murphy.


The Mets (62-78) will send journeyman Nelson Figueroa (2-4, 4.74 ERA) against Hamels (8–9, 4.32 ERA).

As a makeshift starter, Figueroa has a 3.00 ERA in his last three starts with 20 strikeouts 18 innings. Hamels is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in two starts against the Mets this season, and for all his talk, has not defeated the Mets since 2006.

The weather is wet and bleak in Philly tonight, but the Phillies are saying the show will go on. Carlos Beltran will have the night off, presumably because of the wet turf. Also getting the night off is Daniel Murphy, which I don’t see. Don’t the Mets what to get a look at him in regards to their future plans and having him bat against a left-hander can be nothing but good for him.

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 1B
Nick Evans, LF
Omir Santos, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
Nelson Figueroa, RP

Sep 10

Delgado in 2010?

Jerry Manuel hasn’t closed the door for a return of Carlos Delgado to the Mets for next season. What had been a foregone conclusion might not happen.

“I think it depends a lot on the makeup of the rest of the team, if you have excess in another area – say, speed, then that balances that out,” Manuel said. “If we gear in that direction, it has to be excess if we don’t have any power to balance the team out.”

DELGADO: Do you want him back?

DELGADO: Do you want him back?


An assumption is the Mets would have more power next season with Carlos Beltran available, Jeff Francoeur there for the entire season, and the hoped-for return of David Wright’s power numbers. Given that, the need for Delgado would be lessened.

Of course, none of the above are guaranteed. Then again, neither is Delgado returning to his second-half 2008 form.

Delgado does not help the Mets get younger, faster, more athletic and cheaper. The Mets have to weigh whether Delgado is closer to being the player he was in the second half last season or the first half and most of 2007.

He also has an injury history, and age and his contract are factors. I’d rather leave first base to Daniel Murphy and use the money elsewhere, preferably pitching. The Mets are rapidly making the transition from being the team that had the World Series door slammed in their faces in 2006, and Delgado is holding onto the past.

Agree or not?

Sep 09

What’s wrong with Wright?

Sorry for getting out of the blocks late today. There was a job lead I needed to follow-up on and several phone calls that needed to me made. I was under consideration to cover Alabama football, but that didn’t pan out. Would have been interesting.

I’m working on several projects, one of which is ghost writing a book on martial arts. Very interesting subject. Once it is done, I’ll post where you can get a copy.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you guys again for last night’s blog. It is what I envisioned when I kept the blog going. It should be like a group of friends getting together at my house or a sports bar (better make it the bar, because I don’t want to pick up) with plenty of lively, challenging conversation. It was clean and civil. Some good-natured pokes, but isn’t that the way it should be when you’re with friends?

Most beat writer blogs are simply glorified message boards and chat rooms. Not much serious give-and-take. Intelligent conversation. Good job.

Thanks again.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.


i did want to talk about David Wright this morning. An absolutely horrible game last night. It’s OK, everybody has them. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays had horrible games, too. There was one error, but should have been two. A DP and a K with RISP. Wright gets a hit in one of those two spots and maybe the Mets win the game.

Wright is second behind Gary Sheffield (10) with eight homers. Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur could all hit more homers than Wright this year. There are other ways to win besides home runs, but the Mets aren’t doing any of them. If they played consistent, fundamental baseball and kept the line moving, advanced runners, and hit when the situation declares it, their lack of power could be tolerated.

But, they don’t, and they make too many mistakes defensively, and walk far too many hitters, that dig them into holes. Power is the great eraser, but the Mets don’t have the power to erase the kind of mistakes they are making on a consistent basis.

Wright has done something with his stance and is just not driving the ball as he used to. I don’t care if he hits .320 as long as there is some run production, but there is not.

There is NOT ONE explanation for what has happened to Wright. The altercation of his stance is a contributing factor, and he obviously doesn’t feel as if he could adjust without getting into a funk. That happens. There is the added pressure of being the only one of the core playing for much of the season, and that has taken a toll. There is also the perception of Citi Field not being a hitter friendly park, but that has changed as the season wore on. Plenty of home runs are being hit, just not by the Mets.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.


Yes, lack of protection in the batting order plays a part, but then again, Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds, went seasons without serious back-up and look at their numbers. In all fairness, Pujols and Bonds are elite players above Wright’s level.

Wright has run either hot and cold all season. His average is good, but there needs to be more RBI next to it, even without the homers. Some of that could be attributed to those hitting in front of him, but remember, Luis Castillo has had a good season.

Most perplexing to me about Wright has been the strikeouts. He has 115 already and is on a pace for 138 (a little over 24 percent of his at-bats). Conversely, he’s on a pace for 79 walks. He’s also on pace for career lows in homers (10) and RBI (71), yet, his .406 on-base percentage would be the second highest of his career.

Wright’s power out age might have been more acceptable had Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado stayed healthy. Nonetheless, Wright has established himself as a power run-producer. We can write this season off as a bad one, but he’ll get no such slack next season.

Wright is the face of this franchise, like it or not, and his job description is to hit for more power. Whether we blame Wright for being stubborn or hitting coach Howard Johnson is immaterial. Wright needs to make an overhaul of his stance and mechanics this winter and return to being a run producer. That’s his job.

Sep 08

Tonight’s line-up vs. Marlins.

The Mets (62-75) begin a three-game series with the Marlins (72-65) tonight at Citi Field, with Tim Redding taking on Rick VandenHurk.

Tonight’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, LF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Josh Thole, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Tim Redding, RP

NOTES: VandenHurk (2-2, 4.91 ERA) is 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA in three career starts against the Mets. … Redding (2-4, 5.70 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his last three starts.