Jun 22

Yankees Represent Challenge For Lucas Duda and Ike Davis

There are several things I’d like to see happen for the Mets this weekend. If recent history is any indicator, they will be swept by the Yankees. Trading sweeps is not a way to make the kind of progress Terry Collins needs.

We’ve seen it before with the Mets. They’d come into the Yankees’ series on a roll and get dumped on. And, at home, too. That needs to stop, and here’s what we need to see.

* With the Yankees throwing left handers Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda (tight hammy) need to have a good series. Raking would be nice, but don’t get stuffed. It is easy to envision them getting shut down, but their development requires standing in against tough lefties.

* The bullpen bridge to Frank Francisco must produce. And, the sometimes shaky closer needs to show his mettle. Of course, the best thing would be to get quality innings from the starters.

* The RA Dickey success is no fluke, but the Yankees have a way of cutting down hot pitchers a notch. A strong game on national TV Sunday night against Sabathia would be a great way to start a long road trip.

There are other things I’d like to see, but if the Mets produce the above three, it should be a successful weekend.

ON DECK: Interleague play.

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.

Jun 19

What Are The Odds That Jason Bay Is Still With The Mets In 2013?

The hits just keep on coming for Jason Bay, and not in a good way. Yesterday, Terry Collins spoke to reporters before the game and said, “I’m really worried about him”. Bay will be seeing a doctor today and the team will learn if he indeed suffered another concussion, his second in two years. When asked about the possibility of Bay missing the rest of the season, Collins responded, “anything’s possible.”

For now Bay is on the 7-day disabled list, but there is a strong possibility that he may have played his final game of the season. You may recall that Bay missed the final two months of 2010 after suffering his first concussion. A second concussion could keep him out longer than that and the Mets will make sure he doesn’t return until he becomes 100% symptom free.

It’s been one adversity after another for Bay ever since he signed his four-year, $66 million deal with the Mets. Whether it was fighting through his terrible slumps or missing time with a myriad of injuries, there hasn’t been much to smile about since his move from Beantown to New York. The frustration began almost immediately and has only snowballed since he first took the field as a Met in April of 2010.

Gone was his tremendous right-handed power. Gone was his great ability to drive in runs in droves. Gone was the intimidating presence in the middle of the lineup. All the things the Mets craved about him never materialized with his new team. Now at 33 and in the throws of a second debilitating concussion, the question many are now wondering is if we’ve seen the last of Jason Bay in 2012? And one more question to consider is this one: Despite one final year left on his ill-fated contract, will the Mets rely on him again in 2013 or will they simply cut him as they did with Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez?

Nobody wanted to see the Mets sign Jason Bay more than I did before the 2010 season. I kept holding out hope that he would turn it around, but how many years can one hang onto the same unfulfilled hope? I wish Bay a speedy recovery and truly hope he can comeback sooner than can reasonably be expected, but this is a different team than the one we had in 2010. Kirk Nieuwenhuis has emerged, Lucas Duda has become a legitimate power source, and soon Matt den Dekker will be knocking at the door.

Even before this latest setback for Jason Bay, I was already putting the odds of him returning in 2013 at less than 50/50. I’m not looking to kick a player and a great guy while he’s down, but I am curious to know how many of you think Jason Bay will be the Opening Day left fielder for the Mets in 2013.

Get well soon. Jason…

Follow Joe D. at Mets Merized Online

Jun 15

Mets’ Lineup Tonight Against Reds

The Mets, losers of six of seven before their sweep of Tampa Bay, will attempt  to stay on their roll tonight against Cincinnati at Citi Field. Here’s tonight’s lineup against the Reds:

Kirk Nieuwenhuis – CF

Daniel Murphy – 2B

David Wright – 3B

Lucas Duda – RF

Ike Davis – 1B

Jason Bay – LF

Josh Thole – C

Omar Quintanilla – SS

Dillon Gee – RHP

LINEUP COMMENTS: Glad to see Terry Collins sticking with Kirk Neiuwenhuis instead of sending him to the bench. Collins must stay with Jason Bay for now since he had a few hits the other day. If Bay get hot, it might be a good idea to slot him between Lucas Duda and Ike Davis.

Jun 12

There Are Reasons Behind Mets’ Slide

First things first, sorry for not posting yesterday. As you know, I’ve had surgery and it isn’t healing as I had hoped. I’ve had to shut some things down and yesterday I went back to the doctor. It hasn’t been a good time, and watching the Mets hasn’t made things much easier.

They’ve gone from eight games over and all being right with the world to three games over and the resurfacing of old concerns and worries:

THE BULLPEN: We knew this would be a problem going into the season, and despite its fast start things have digressed as anticipated. It hasn’t helped Jon Rauch’s elbow is ailing. The bullpen was a major cause in losing six of seven games, with an accent on the Yankees’ series. GM Sandy Alderson is contemplating moves from the outside to add depth to the pen. You haven’t heard much about Jenrry Mejia recently, but presumably remains on the table. In regard to the trade route, the Mets don’t want to give up too much, but they must weigh that against the probability their starters will remain effective and their chances with the enhanced wild-card format. Other factors include Washington remaining competitive and Philadelphia improving.

DEFENSE: Let’s face it, it has been spotty all season but lately it has worsened, especially without shortstop Ruben Tejada. Those games against the Yankees seemed like one continuous Luis Castillo flashback. When a team has pitching problems and a spotty offense, it can’t afford many defensive lapses. The Mets are giving up more than they are scoring and that can’t continue. It has already started to catch up to them.

WELCOME BACK JASON BAY: It isn’t as if his return is attributable to their recent problems, but 0-for-11 isn’t exactly inspiring much confidence he’ll add a spark. He certainly hasn’t warranted getting his job back unconditionally. Until Bay proves he can hit and is worth anything close to the $66 million the Mets will pay him, Terry Collins has to seriously think about a platoon system. Then again, Andres Torres might make that decision for him because he’s bringing absolutely nothing to the table.

COLLECTIVE HITTING SLUMP: Do you remember all those two-out runs? Where did they all go? It isn’t just Bay and Torres. David Wright and Daniel Murphy have both cooled. Lucas Duda leads with ten homers, but has provided little else. Ike Davis has provided little of anything and the minor leagues is fast becoming a viable option.

When the Mets were eight games over there was a lot of optimism, and many of the holes were ignored. Perhaps the Mets overachieved the first third of the season and the holes were camouflaged. Well, you can see them now, clearer than ever.

What’s also clear is Tampa Bay’s pitching makes it harder than ever to resolve those issues.