Jul 16

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #88; second half begins.

METS CHAT ROOM

METS CHAT ROOM

One of the major storylines last offseason was the Mets’ decision to give Oliver Perez three years instead of four years for Derek Lowe.

The pitchers face each other tonight in Atlanta as the second half of the season begins. My confidence level in Perez is about zero. There’s just something about him that screams bust.

PEREZ: Who knows what to expect?

PEREZ: Who knows what to expect?


The Mets are within striking distance in the NL East. Teams have come back from a lot greater holes in far less time. The Mets know that from blowing a seven-game lead with 17 to play in 2007. It has been done, but rarely by a team with as many glaring deficiencies as these Mets.

1. Perez is only one of three major concerns in the rotation. There’s John Maine’s shoulder, which nobody really knows will be ready. Plus, Livan Hernandez has been hit hard lately, so the bloom is off his fast start.

2. Don’t expect Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran back before the end of the month. Carlos Delgado will be back sometime in August, but by that time the competitive part of the season might be ove.

3. The bullpen started off so well, but has been worn down by the workload. Sean Green and Bobby Parnell have run hot-and-cold. Pedro Feliciano is being run into the ground and JJ Putz is on the DL. The way things are going, Billy Wagner, if he returns, won’t be a luxury but a necessity.

4. There’s been little consistent power production. It’s hard to believe Gary Sheffield leads the team in homers. Jeff Francoeur might add something, but the hitter they really need is Wright to step up.

5. The farm system is barren as we’ve frequently heard before. There are few major-league ready players to come up to help the Mets, which also means there are limited trade options. The Mets will not make a blockbuster kind of deal at the trade deadline.

Here’s the line-up that will take a crack at Derek Lowe:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Alex Cora, SS
Brian Schneider, C
Oliver Perez, LP

Perez (2-2, 8.78 ERA) will make his second start for the Mets since coming off the disabled list. Perez earned the victory against the Dodgers, but threw only five innings and gave up seven walks. Perez had no record against the Braves last year, but had a 3.72 ERA in 19 1/3 innings against them.

Jul 09

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #84; Martinez to Phils?

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Word is the Phillies are close to signing free-agent Pedro Martinez to a one-year contract at $4 million which automatically brings another nightmare to the Mets’ world.

The Phillies have not commented, but the report is on several media outlets. The Phillies could be also in the market for Roy Halladay.

Meanwhile, the Mets, behind Livan Hernandez, will be trying to win this series with the Dodgers.

Here’s the line-up that will face Randy Wolf:

Luis Castillo, 2B
Nick Evans, LF
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, RF
Fernando Tatis, 1B
Ryan Church, CF
Omir Santos, C
Alex Cora, SS
Livan Hernandez, RP

Jul 03

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #79; Phillies – nuf said.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

With the way the Mets have played lately, they are very fortunate to go into Philadelphia within a whisper of the Phillies. Had the World Champs played like it, they could have a seven-game lead by now.

Livan Hernandez (5-3, 4.04 ERA), who has lost his last two outings, will start for the Mets. Hernandez has gone at least seven innings in six of his last eight starts, and he needs to do more of the same because the bullpen is now a shaky issue. Hernandez is 10-8 with a 3.36 ERA in 24 career starts against the Phillies.

Rodrigo Lopez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) starts for the Phillies. He is making his first Major League appearance since 2007 when he was with the Rockies.

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Alex Cora, SS
Daniel Murphy, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, RF
Ryan Church, CF
Fernando Tatis, 2B
Nick Evans, LF
Brian Schneider, C
Livan Hernandez, RP

Jun 28

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #74; trying to salvage a lost weekend.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Sorry about last night. Computer access was down. Trying it again.

Well, so much for the good feelings generated the beating the Cardinals. The Yankees have had their way this weekend with the Mets, who only have four hits in the two games. With the way Chien Ming Wang has been pitching for the Yankees, one would hope they would get at least that many tonight. Then again, four hits tonight won’t cut it either.

Livan Hernandez (5-2, 4.05 ERA) starts tonight for the Mets, but despite his good pitching they’ve lost four of his past five starts, In his last ten start, he is 4-1 with a 3.17 ERA, averaging over 6 innings in each game.

If he can’t do it tonight, the Mets will drop to .500, not the way they want to start their next trip.

Ryan Church isn’t feeling well and won’t play tonight. Here’s the patchwork line-up:

Daniel Murphy, 1B
Alex Cora, SS
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Fernando Tatis, RF
Fernando Martinez, CF
Brian Schneider, C
Luis Castillo, 2B
Livan Hernandez, RP

Jun 24

About Last Night ….

All those good feelings harnessed with Monday’s victory have been washed away by the rain. Getting two hits against Joel Pineiro will do that to a team. For a team not getting consistently good pitching, the Mets can’t afford to waste a strong performance such as the one Livan Hernandez gave them last night.

Three-fourths of the core is gone, and the last one standing – David Wright – is hitting, but without power. Consistent run production is lacking and there’s little help on the horizon. Gary Sheffield hasn’t played in three days, and that they are relying on his aching 40-year-old legs doesn’t do much on the optimism meter.

It was Pineiro last night. He was stifling and the Mets did little to work the count. Not that it would have mattered anyway because he was usually ahead.

The Mets must now play for one run whenever they get the chance, and they don’t get many. Bunt, hit-and-run, steal, hit behind the runner, take the extra base, work the count. Now, more than ever, the must play fundamental offense because they don’t have the eraser that can wipe it all clean with one swing.

As well as they played Monday, they still could have lost. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them lose tonight and even tomorrow with Johan Santana, who hasn’t been a sure thing since the San Francisco game a half-dozen or so starts ago.

The Mets have been extremely fortunate to be only 2.5 games behind the Phillies with how they have played this month. They could easily be seven or eight behind if the Phillies could win at home.

I get this gnawing feeling about the Mets, the same one I got the last two years, that they have this warped belief they can turn it on at will once they get all their parts back. It doesn’t work that way.

These are the Mets’ cards and they have to play them. They have to play as if there’s no help coming, because, after all, we don’t know if there is.