Jul 23

Mets Now Fading Into Sellers?

Falling below .500, the Mets are no longer the National League’s feel-good story. That would be Pittsburgh and Washington, two perennial losers poking on top of their respective divisions.

As the Mets struggled the past weeks and faded, they resisted the urge to buy relief help, the commodity that will define this season. Mathematically, they remain alive, but watching those long faces in the dugout yesterday afternoon in the 12th inning, one can surmise the frowns greater than the math.

They might have another run in them, but they must start it against the Nationals, followed by ten games in the Pacific Time Zone. Yeah, no problem.

As the Mets transform from buyers into sellers, just who do the have worth putting on the block. David Wright, Daniel Murphy and R.A. Dickey would bring the most, but they are the core to next year and those beyond.

Any of their relievers, save Bobby Parnell and maybe Tim Byrdak can be had.  Byrdak, actually could bring something if the Mets were to call it quits. Off the bench, Scott Hairston and Jordany Valdespin might bring some value, but I’d like to keep both.

As the story of this season is written, things unraveled first with the bullpen and then the starting pitching. The offense, while not great, has been good enough to put them into contention.

 

 

Jul 22

Mets Do Right Thing With Santana

It doesn’t matter if Johan Santana misses two starts. What matters is the temptation to overthrow in a game is removed for at least two weeks. Let’s face it, he’s a competitor and will be tempted. Hopefully, it won’t be more than that.
Of course, Santana said he could pitch. What else would you expect him to say?
Personally, I thought they would have to rest him before this. Was pushing him in the no-hitter the wrong thing to do? I don’t know. Fact is, it wasn’t just the 134 pitches, but all the ones before and since.
It was also the right thing to do and DFA Miguel Batista. He was giving the Mets nothing.
And, finally, Jordany Valdespin is in the starting lineup today. About time.
Ruben Tejada, ss
Jordany Valdespin, lf
David Wright, 3b
Ike Davis, 1b
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Lucas Duda, rf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf
Josh Thole, c
Jon Niese, lhp
Jun 20

Johan Santana Gives Mets Sigh Of Relief

After he was roughed up in the two starts following his 134-pitch no-hitter, there was worry again something might be wrong with Johan Santana’s surgically-repaired left shoulder.

SANTANA: Strong again.

Six scoreless innings last night against the Orioles eased those concerns. Not entirely, because can you ever be certain about a shoulder, but there’s a good feeling about the tandem of him and R.A. Dickey.

Every game has a moment of decision for a pitcher, and Santana’s came in the fourth when the Orioles had runners on second and third with one out. Santana responded by striking out the next two hitters.

The Mets have thrown consecutive shutouts three times this season and lead the majors with eight overall.

In addition to Santana, the Mets continued to receive positive offensive news, from an expected source and a surprise.

Lucas Duda homered again and Jordany Valdespin added a two-run single while demonstrating his versatility. Last night he was in left; the night before at second.

And, maybe the biggest plus was getting three scoreless innings from what has been an erratic bullpen. Terry Collins is going back to handling Santana with kid gloves after the no-hitter, which translates into more innings from the pen.

May 08

Mets, May 8, At Philadelphia

Last night’s hero, Jordany Valdespin, is rewarded with a start tonight at shortstop. Here’s who is the lineup with him:

Andres Torres, cf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, lf
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, rf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Ike Davis, 1b
Jordany Valdespin, ss
Mike Nickeas, c
Miguel Batista, rhp

LINEUP COMMENTS: I like when Terry Collins rewards his bench players with starts after a good game. It keeps the bench focused. …

 

May 08

Josh Thole Injury Tempers Win

Not to be lost in the excitement of the Mets’ come-from-behind victory last night on Jordany Valdespin’s pinch three-run homer is the injury to catcher Josh Thole that could keep him out for at least one week.

THOLE: After collision. (Getty)

Thole, involved in a collision at home plate with former Met Ty Wigginton, complained of headaches and dizziness and returned to New York today to be examined for a possible concussion. Thole has a history of concussions, having sustained one in June of 2010 while at Triple-A Buffalo when he was hit in the head on a backswing.

In all probability, the Mets will place Thole on the seven-day disabled list – new for players suspected of concussions – and bring up a catcher from Buffalo, perhaps Rob Johnson, who once caught R.A. Dickey when both were with Seattle.

Major League Baseball, like other professional sports, are taking the issue of concussions more seriously. The multi-million dollar lawsuit by former players against the NFL has caught everybody’s attention.

The Mets should be more cautious than most with concussions for their handling of Ryan Church’s concussion several years ago. Injured trying to break up a double play in Atlanta, Church flew to Denver after that series. He played sporadically for several weeks before the team finally placed him on the disabled list.

Not surprisingly, the Mets caught considerable flack for their handling of Church, although the outfielder never publicly criticized the team at first and said he was all right to play.

The Church incident was poorly handled by all parties, from the Mets for not being more cautious and simply taking the word of the player initially, to Church for trying to play through the injury, and Church’s agent, for not suggesting, and then arranging, a second medical opinion after the injury.

While the Church injury didn’t occur long ago – it was during Willie Randolph’s tenure as manager – professional sports have since made radical changes in how head injuries are handled.