Aug 17

Today in Mets’ History: When things looked brighter.

This was when the window was wide open for the Mets. They didn’t have extraordinary starting pitching, but a deep bullpen was deep and the lineup was powerful.

MAINE: It never happened for him.

There was a lot to like about the 2006 Mets, managed by Willie Randolph, who on this date ripped the Phillies in Philadelphia, 7-2, behind two homers from Carlos Delgado, one from Carlos Beltran and a workmanlike effort from John Maine.

Maine was acquired from Baltimore in the Kris Benson deal and showed glimpses of being a solid starter. Maine appeared on the verge of stardom the following year when he led the National League in wins at the break – but was an All-Star snub – and gave up one hit in a late September game against Florida that kept the Mets in the race.

However, arm problems and a tendency to more a thrower than a pitcher, derailed his career. Maine eventually clashed with manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen, and his Mets career was pulled after a five-pitch outing in Washington in his ninth start of the 2010 season.

Maine worked into the seventh this afternoon, before Randolph turned the game over to the bullpen.

First, the effective Chad Bradford, whom the Mets did not bring back in the offseason, then Pedro Feliciano, followed by Aaron Heilman and Billy Wagner.

The Mets’ inability to keep their bullpen intact manifested itself in the dramatic late-season collapse the following year.

The bullpen has been an issue ever since.

BOX SCORE

 

Jun 22

Today in Mets’ History: Franco climbs save list.

John Franco has always been one of the more popular Mets. You can catch him on SNY from time to time.

FRANCO: Hall worthy?

On this date in 1994, Franco passed Dave Righetti for the most saves by a lefthander with 253 in a 5-2 victory at Atlanta.

Franco finished with 424 saves, an average of 26 per season playing for the Reds, Mets an Astros. He had eight seasons of 30 or more saves – five of them with the Mets – with a career best 39 with Cincinnati in 1988.

That season was one of three times in which he led the National League in saves.

Franco is fourth on the career list behind Trevor Hoffman, Mariano Rivera and Lee Smith, but has received little consideration for the Hall of Fame, largely because he has one save in 15 postseason appearances.

Franco has always been a straight shooter, which accounts for much of his popularity among Mets fans.

During the summer of 2009 when the Mets were hit hard by injuries and struggling, Franco wanted to hear none of the excuses and pointed in a different direction.

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Jun 02

Collins rant rings hollow.

It was humorous and a little sad to listen to Terry Collins’ post-game rant last night in the wake of another seventh-inning meltdown. He sounded desperate and out of control, much how his team is playing.

First, he praised the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen for his hustle and hard play and said that’s how his team should be playing, then stopped short and said effort isn’t the issue.

Well, is it or not?

COLLINS: Where's that smile now?

He said his team played hard, but lacked execution. Passion, but poor performance … kind of like his speech.

Collins railing in front of the Mets logo wasn’t quite Patton in front of the American flag. You remember … Americans love a winner.

The problem is his Mets aren’t winners.

They are losing again and the problems are many beginning most recently and significantly with the bullpen, which imploded again. Over the last ten games the pen has given up 32 earned runs.

Last night a strong performance by Chris Capuano was wasted. Last night also featured several defensive lapses, two from Willie Harris, and the Mets’ first homer in 11 games.

Poor pitching, defense and no power won’t win you many games.

Clearly peeved, Collins ran over the same litany of issues that have burned and burdened the Mets for years. Lack of timely hitting; giving away too many at-bats; that no one player is to blame, that this is a team thing; not making the right pitch at the right time.

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Jun 01

Will it ever happen for Bobby Parnell?

The Mets wasted a sparkling performance by R.A. Dickey last night, but with their anemic hitting lately, that’s hardly a surprise.

PARNELL: Will it ever happen?

 

What I took out of last night’s loss was again a spotty, head-scratching performance from Bobby Parnell, who continually proves it isn’t how hard you throw it, but when and where.

Parnell tweaked the radar gun at 100 mph., but was all over place, needing 32 pitches to get out of the inning, but not before giving up a two-run single that effectively put the game out of reach.

Perhaps the circulation issue in his finger is resolved for now, but that doesn’t mean he’s void of questions and concerns.

One scout said it is the same old thing with Parnell.

“He doesn’t have the command or the ability to control a secondary pitch consistently,’’ said one scout, adding when Parnell muscles up with this four-seam fastball the pitch has a tendency to flatten out. It’s harder than his two-seamer, but without the movement required at this level to get hitters out.

I thought the Mets misused Parnell under Jerry Manuel – putting him in the rotation, then yanking him after a few bad starts at the end of a lost season – but now they seem to have slotted him into one role.

However, Parnell hasn’t adopted to that role, leaving the team with several options:

a) Leave him in the current eighth-inning role and allow him to take his lumps at this level.

b) Pitch him earlier in the game that keeps him exposed to major league hitters.

c) Send him to the minor leagues and assign him one role and allow him to perfect that.

Conventional thinking had Parnell taking over the closer role for Francisco Rodriguez after this season, but his inconsistency and ineffectiveness had shoved those plans to a back burner.

 

Apr 30

Collins admits mistake in starting Pelfrey.

Terry Collins played the media perfectly last night, even in defeat.

Rather than run away from his obvious blunder to start Mike Pelfrey, or worse point fingers at others, Collins did a un-Jerry Manuel like thing and pointed the finger at himself.

“It was my fault,” Collins said. “I write the lineup. I didn’t need to pitch him. I had a little concern there might be a problem. I know better than that. … It was my responsibility to take charge of that and I sent him out there.’’

From there, Collins diffused the issue. It only becomes a topic again should he repeat the mistake.

Beat reporter want credibility. They understand the game, and when one of the participants screws up they want him to be man enough to stand up.

Managing pitching staffs is a lot about trusting the pitcher, and against his better judgment, Collins listened to, and gave in to, Pelfrey’s request to pitch. After the game, Pelfrey said he was fine and didn’t want to use having the flu as an excuse.

The fact is he wasn’t fine. It is admirable he wanted to pitch, but he wasn’t thinking about what was in the best interest of the team.

Pelfrey should have backed down last night.