Apr 10

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #4; Maine vs. Marlins.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The Mets are in Miami tonight to face the Marlins, the team that eliminated them from playoff contention in the season’s final game in each of the last two years.

The 3-0 Marlins are for real and have loftier goals than being a spoiler this year. The 2-1 Mets will go with John Maine, who will make his first start since surgery to remove a bone spur from his throwing shoulder last August. Maine was 10-8 with a 4.18 ERA in 25 starts last season, and is 3-1 with a 2.75 ERA in six starts against the Marlins.

We can draw a couple of conclusions from the series in Cincinnati, beginning with the Mets’ starting pitching is an issue. To think the Marlins can’t handle Maine and Livan Hernandez tomorrow is absurd.

Apr 10

WANTED: Pitching

Sorry for the late post today.

I know it has only been three games, but I didn’t even need them to tell me the Mets still need to improve their starting pitching. After Johan Santana are you really convinced of what you’ll get from the other four in the rotation.

I believe in Mike Pelfrey, but his first start shows there are still growing pains. After reaching a career-high in innings pitched last season, will he hit a wall? There’s no way of knowing, but the assumption has to be made, and it has to be addressed.

John Maine goes tonight and he’s coming off shoulder surgery. Supposedly, it is minor, but everybody else’s surgery is always minor. Tonight will not be conclusive, one way or another.

Livan Hernandez is an innings eater at the end of his career. I liked the signing. Still do, but he is what he is. He’s a .500 pitcher these days, which is the definition of a fifth starter.

OK … Oliver Perez is next. He can be nails-on-a-chalkboard annoying to watch at times, such as yesterday. I don’t want to say the Mets can’t win with Perez, because afterall, he did win 15 for them two years ago. But, that’s looking more and more like a fluke.

Jake Peavy, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt could all be available come the end of July. The Mets can’t afford to be timid then. If it costs them F-Mart, then so be it. Quality pitching is more important anyway.

Mar 18

Clock clicking down on Met issues

With a little less than three weeks before Opening Day, some issues the Mets opened camp with are starting to take focus. Others remain blurred.

Johan Santana, it seems, is on track. My philosophy on injuries is to assume the worst until the player proves otherwise. After a strong 56-pitch outing in a minor league game yesterday, the reports on Santana and his slider are good.

The fifth starter was another issue, and candidates Freddy Garcia (14.40 ERA this spring) and Livan Hernandez (3.72) will work today against the Braves. Garcia, obviously needs a complete turnaround to stay in contention, but coming off injuries, he’s likely to open the season with an extended spring training.

Hernandez has been mostly good, but still hasn’t blown Jerry Manuel away as to where the job is his. And, until he does, there will always be those Pedro Martinez whispers that won’t go away.

Mar 17

Niese goes today ….

Jon NIese takes his 9.00 ERA to the mound today against the Braves. Niese is still in the hunt for the fifth spot in the rotation, but hasn’t overly impressed in his opportunity.

I’m still putting what’s left of my money on Livan Hernandez to win the role. That is, of course, if the Mets don’t pick somebody else up, such as re-signing Pedro Martinez.

Nobody has blown away the field. Tim Redding is hurting and could open the season on the DL. Freddy Garcia? That ended quickly.

I like what I saw of Niese last season, but he also had those moments that said he wasn’t ready. I’d hate for him to come up and get rocked the way Mike Pelfrey did. If there is a viable major league option to Niese, the Mets will take it.

Feb 27

Fifth starter update: Livan sharp; Garcia not so

GARCIA: Rough day.

GARCIA: Rough day.

Watching Feddy Garcia labor big time against the Cardinals. It’s early, but it has to be frustrating for Garcia, who has given up four runs on a pile of pitches. Garcia is trying to make the team as the fifth starter.

He’s competing with Livan Hernandez, who threw two perfect innings today, Tim Redding and Jon Niese.

If I were betting, I would say Hernandez wins the job, Redding will get slotted as the long man, Niese and Garcia would open in the minors.