Aug 24

Can’t see Warthen surviving, either.

The Mets’ starting pitching is decidedly better than it was last year at this time, but I don’t think it will be enough to save Dan Warthen when Jerry Manuel gets the ax, presumably within days after the end of the regular season.

Incoming managers prefer to name their own pitching coach and staff. To have a staff thrust on a new manager is unfair and puts him at a disadvantage. There’s always the underlying thought  if the pitching coach stays he’s really the GM’s guy. The new manager could interview from the old staff as a courtesy, but there are no guarantees.

That coaches’ contracts expire after the season – unlike that of GM Omar Minaya – should make the transition easier. If Manuel goes as expected, it will mean five managers this decade, hardly a bastion of stability. They’ve also had three general managers during that span to further indicate this is franchise without stable direction.

So, they start again with a new manager and pitching coach.

While the rotation has improved, there’s not enough of an imprint by Warthen to make a difference for these reasons:

1) John Maine: Calling one of your pitchers a “habitual liar,” is not good business. Although it turned out Maine was injured, the process of letting him go out there when he didn’t have it to throw five pitches lost the player, and might have damaged Warthen’s ability in the clubhouse. The team had rebound hopes for Maine but he never made any progress and then came the injury.

2) Oliver Perez: While this is probably unfair with the assumption Perez is a lost cause, Warthen did have two years to work with him without positive results.

3) Mike Pelfrey: Kudos for the fast start, some questions for the slide. There was also last year. Pelfrey, despite showing signs of coming out of it, remains an enigma.

4) The Eighth Inning Guy: All season the Mets have had troubles finding somebody for the eighth inning. A lot of guys have pitched there, but nobody has taken hold of the job. While Manuel will get roasted for this, Warthen must share responsibility.

5) Burning out the bullpen: Manuel kept riding the hot horse until he drops. Somewhere, the pitching coach has to do a better job of monitoring the bullpen arms to keep everybody fresh.

Aug 19

On Backman ….

There’s no way Jerry Manuel will survive after this season. Whoever replaces him will have to be marketed to a disgruntled and discouraged fan base.

The one guy who will work and won’t break the bank, and who has won at his level, but hasn’t managed on the major league level is Wally Backman.

The Mets need to market fire and intensity, something that has been lacking, and Backman meets that description. Because of his background and ties to the 1986 championship team, Backman is somebody the team can market and the public will buy.

The downside is his lack of major league experience, but the Mets have to weigh this against the public relations upside.

Aug 18

Mets Chat Room; union files grievance.

Jerry Manuel said today he hopes the Mets can get on a run and sneak back into contention. He really doesn’t have much more than hope because the Mets are becoming more and more irrelevant for this season.

Game #120 at Astros

They started sputtering before the All-Star break, but were within serious striking distance when Carlos Beltran was activated at the break.

They’ve been 11-20 since to deepen their hole by seven games to 11 behind Atlanta.

I posted a few things to look forward to down the stretch, but another one is the fallout from the Francisco Rodriguez incident.

The Major League Baseball Players Association, not surprisingly, has already filed a grievance against the Mets on behalf of Rodriguez for placing him on the disqualified list and attempt to convert his contract to a non-guaranteed deal.

Remember, the union’s concern isn’t about right or wrong – as evidenced by its head-in-the-sand stance on steroids – but simply getting every last nickel for the players.

Aug 17

Mets Chat Room; Santana tries to keep it going.

The last time Johan Santana pitched he told manager Jerry Manuel to leave him alone, that he could go ten innings.

Game #119 at Astros

Want to bet there will be a similar conversation tonight?

For the first time in two months, the Mets the first game of a road series last night. They’ll try to make it two in a row tonight behind Santana (10-6, 2.89), who is coming off a masterful 4-0 blanking of the Colorado Rockies. They haven’t won two straight on the road since June 11-18.

Santana admits there’s a certain degree of pressure when he takes the mound considering the Mets’ lackluster offense.

“Every time we go out there, we go out there with the mentality of winning,’’ said Santana, who has given up nine hits in 16 1/3 scoreless innings in his last two starts.

Over his last nine starts Santana is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA. With a little run support he could have 15 victories by now.

Two slumbering Mets showed wake-up signs last night. David Wright had three hits and Carlos Beltran had two, including a home run.

Aug 12

Mets Chat Room; picking up the pieces … again.

Game #114 vs. Rockies

Once again, it is up to Johan Santana to pick up the pieces following another Mets’ loss. This one a crushing defeat when the bullpen and offense conspired to take a win away from Jonathan Niese.

With a little run support, Santana could have 13, 14 wins by now, but the Mets simply don’t score for him. They don’t score for anybody these days. Maybe this afternoon against Colorado it will be different, but there were no such signs coming out of last night’s loss which featured seven straight Mets striking out.

David Wright is in the midst of a 2-for-33 slide and the strikeouts are mounting again. He could get the afternoon off. Jerry Manuel also hinted at giving Jose Reyes a day off, too. Reyes recently admitted his concentration wanders at time and he loses focus.

Reyes’ game, especially defensively, has been spotty lately.

NOTE: I have another work assignment today and won’t be in the chat room until later in the game.