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 11

May 11.10: Wright’s woes and tonight’s line-up

David Wright was hitting .324 in 426 at-bats prior to his beaning last season and is batting .253 in 217 at-bats since. (Source: ESPN)

He’s also striking out a lot more times.

Wright is batting .277 on 31 hits in 112 at-bats with 42 strikeouts. If those numbers were reversed and he had 42 hits with 31 strikeouts, his average would be .375. Another way of saying it is he’s striking out 37 percent of the time.

In his first full four years, Wright struck out an average of 115 times a season. Last season, Wright struck out 140 times and he is on pace to strike out 188 times this year.

Last season, Wright exceeded his career average by 25 times. If he keeps his pace, he would exceed his pre-2009 career average by 73.

A strikeout is a wasted at bat.

That’s 73 less times he put the ball in play. In keeping with his career average, that would be 23 more hits. And, what about those other 50 at-bats? That’s 50 less chances of a productive at-bat, such as a sacrifice fly, chance to advance the runner into scoring position, chance for a walk, or chance to reach on an error.

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Ryota Igarashi is close to beginning a minor league rehab assignment on his left hamstring, said assistant general manager John Ricco.

Igarahsi is threw off the mound without discomfort Monday.

Igarashi had a 1.35 ERA in seven appearances prior to the injury and was moving into the eighth-inning set-up role.

Significantly, getting a healthy Igarashi back would reduce the work loads of Fernando Nieve and Pedro Feliciano.

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Tonight’s line-up

No changes, so it is safe to assume Jerry Manuel doesn’t believe the offense has hit rock bottom, yet.

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

May 10

May 10.10: Chat Room, Game #32 vs. Nationals: Can Wright get it going again?

Right now, David Wright would be one of the first to admit this game is impossible to figure out. Wright took a 10-game hitting streak into Saturday’s game.

That streak hasn’t just been snapped, it has been shattered.

Since then, Wright has gone down on strikes eight straight times (he had a sacrifice fly in there that would have accounted for the winning RBI had not the bullpen not given up lead for the third straight game).

The last one got him ejected from Sunday’s game and had the Mets tied it would have brought on the fun scenario of Jon Niese in left and Jason Bay playing third base. There’s a morbid curiosity, I admit, of wanting to see that.

Wright denies it was a culmination that caused his explosion at plate ump Paul Schreiber, but it was certainly more than the “disagreement’’ he called it.

“In a season you’re going to go through some ups and downs and I’m not seeing the ball right now,” said Wright. “Hopefully I’ll get back to swinging the bat well. Obviously you want to go up there and put together some good at-bats but it hasn’t happened the last couple of days. I’ll keep plugging away and working at it until it does happen.’’

Wright is too good a player for it not to happen, but what is alarming is not the strikeouts, but the quantity. He has 41 on the season and the Mets play their 32nd game tonight against Washington.

“It’s a combination of me not seeing the ball that well right now and facing some good pitching,’’ Wright said. “It’s two-sided. Pitchers make good pitches, especially when you’re not feeling that good at the plate, and chances are you’re not going to be that successful.’’

Tonight the 17-14 Mets play the 17-14 Nationals with John Maine going against rookie Luis Atilano (2-0, 4.67), who is trying to bounce back from a six-run effort against Atlanta.

Maine (1-1, 5.97 ERA) appears to have righted himself after a rough start. H was 0-1 with 10.38 ERA in his first three starts, but 1-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his last three.

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
John Maine, RP

METS NOTEBOOK: Catcher Henry Blanco was placed on the bereavement list and replaced on the roster by Josh Thole. … Mike Piazza said if he ever was inducted into the Hall of Fame he wanted to go in as a Met. “The bulk of my career was with the Mets,’’ he said. One of the most enduring images in Met history was his homer that beat Atlanta in the first game back from 9/11.

May 05

May 5.10: Chat Room, Game #28 at Reds: Getaway day and resting Pelfrey.

The Mets behind Jon Niese will attempt to win the rubber game of their series at Cincinnati this afternoon and go home 3-3 on the road trip. A let down of sorts after their 9-1 homestand, but considering what happened in Philly, I’ll take it.

Niese is coming off a superb start last Friday in Philadelphia, prompting one anonymous Phillie to say he’s better than any pitcher the Phillies have “not named Halladay.”

To me, the key story of the day is how the Mets are handling Mike Pelfrey’s tight shoulder. Pelfrey was hammered in his last start, and afterward complained of stiffness in his shoulder. An MRI Monday was negative, but even so the Mets bagged his normal throw day yesterday and today he had a light abbreviated bullpen session.

Pitching coach Dan Warthen said the decision to cancel his normal bullpen was to not force the issue, but also said Pelfrey is good to go this weekend against San Francisco.

I say, why bother?

There’s reason enough to be concerned so shouldn’t the prudent thing be to have him skip his start to be sure he’s sound. We’re talking a game in May. Isn’t it better to miss one game now rather than four or five later should he go on the disabled list for a prolonged time?

When it comes to a pitcher’s arm, I always anticipate the worse and believe it is better to be cautious now rather than regretful later. They don’t need Pelfrey as much this weekend as they do later this season.

R.A. Dickey is pitching well for Triple-A Buffalo and could be brought up for an emergency start.

Here’s today’s line-up for the Mets:

Angel Pagan, CF
Alex Cora, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Gary Matthews, RF
Henry Blanco, C
Jon Niese, LP

May 02

May 2.10: Chat Room, Game #25 at Phillies: On the rebound.

It’s good to be back. I see we didn’t miss much yesterday. For nearly two weeks everything broke right for the Mets, then it unraveled in dominating fashion Saturday. Getting blitzed by ten runs is being dominated as convincing as it gets.

The Mets won the opening game of the series behind Jon Niese Friday, and the Phillies rolled behind Roy Halladay Saturday in Mike Pelfrey’s first loss of the season. That brings us to Johan Santana, the pitcher the Mets count on to make things right and plenty went wrong yesterday.

Tonight it’s Santana (3-1, 2.08 ERA) against Jamie Moyer (2-2, 5.25). Santana has won his last two games, giving up one run over his last 21 1/3 innings. Santana has gone at least seven innings in seven of his last eight starts against the Phillies – going 4-0 – so the Mets have reason to be optimistic tonight.

The streak wasn’t going to last forever, and logically one had to figure they weren’t going to sweep the Phillies. But, if this series was a test, so is tonight as it will be interesting to see how they respond from yesterday. Tonight is a gut check on several levels.