Aug 22

August 22 lineup at Philly

It’s always interesting when the Mets play the Phillies, but unfortunately since the teams are at the opposite end of the spectrum there’s little steam to the rivalry.

The Mets make their final trip to Philly beginning tonight, with Dillon Gee going against Cliff Lee.

Here’s the Mets’ batting order:

Angel Pagan, CF

Justin Turner, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Jason Bay, LF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Scott Hairston, RF

Ronny Paulino, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

Dillon Gee, RP

Comments: Once again, Lucas Duda is at first base instead of right field. Assuming Ike Davis is healthy next season, he’ll play first base. However, the Mets do not have a right field option.

Terry Collins has hinted, but won’t pull the trigger on Duda playing right field for the rest of the season. Why? I don’t know.

With the competitive part of the year over, this is when the Mets should be looking for some answers, and one of them is where Duda should play.

I’d also like to see Jason Bay in the second spot of the order, as Collins also suggested earlier this year, but never tried.

 

Aug 10

Doing things the right way.

Baseball is such a thinking man’s sport for the player. Each pitch is the start of a play and every player on the field should know what to do if the ball is hit to him, every pitcher should know what he wants to throw, and every hitter should know his objective.

Last night, Lucas Duda’s primary objective if he couldn’t get the run home was to make a productive out and move the runner into scoring position. Perhaps Duda wasn’t comfortable with the pitching match-up; he knows his limitations better than anyone. Bunting wasn’t the sexy play, but it put the Mets in position to win.

It was a great idea. It was the total team thing to do. I like his thinking and hope he always maintains that attitude.

The Mets are in position offensively where they need to manufacture runs, which is exactly what Duda accomplished. It doesn’t matter if he is the No. 4 hitter or not, he had a specific job to do and did it, which was to advance the runner to third.

There are so many situations where the No. 4 hitter would either strike out or make a non-productive out instead of advancing the runner. Yes, Duda has been hot lately, but his frame of mind in suggesting the bunt was that was his best chance of getting the job done.

There are so many statistics in baseball, many of them worthless. But there should be a “get the job done,’’ stat for offense, and it would entail, a) getting on base, b) advancing a runner with a productive out, and c) driving in a run. Basically, it should entail the percentage of times a hitter accomplishes his job and does one of the three.

I guarantee if such a stat existed and was applied to each hitter in the lineup, the team that executed at a higher rate would win the majority of the time.

The Mets, as presently constructed, aren’t an abundantly talented team. As their record indicates, they don’t overwhelm. Fundamentals should be their foundation; their mantra. Maybe that sounds boring, but executing them wins games, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

So, great for Duda. Let’s hope all his teammates were taking notes.

Aug 02

Tonight’s lineup vs. Marlins.

Maybe Terry Collins is giving Daniel Murphy a day to think over his defense, but he’s not in the lineup for tonight’s game against Florida.

Murphy’s brain freeze set up Mike Stanton’s game-winning grand slam. It also served notice Murphy remains a defensive liability and a man without a position.

GM Sandy Alderson said Murphy will not play winter ball to work on a position in hope of him mastering things during spring training.

Well, good luck with that.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Jose Reyes, SS

Justin Turner, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Scott Hairston, RF

Jason Bay, LF

Angel Pagan, CF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Mike Nickeas, C

Chris Capuano, LP

 

Aug 02

Mets more maddening than amazing.

They are still more maddening than amazing.

After winning five straight, the Mets have dropped three in a row and are a poor 22-27 at home, where they should be more formidable.

PELFREY: Still wonder about him.

A team can’t be a contender if it doesn’t win at home. And, they won’t win if they keep playing as they did last night.

Of course, it begins with pitching, and Mike Pelfrey continues to make you scratch your head, even when he gives up three runs. That should be enough to win most games, but last night was not most games. Winning pitchers find a way to shut down the opposition, especially when their offense falters, but Pelfrey remains too generous.

There are times, especially because he throws a sinker, when Pelfrey needs bust a hitter on the fists and get a ground ball – or go for the strikeout – but last night he gave up two sacrifice flies.

I thought Pelfrey made strides last season, but he’s regressed to where I wonder if he’ll ever be mentally tough enough to consistently work out of trouble. I’m not saying he must be Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson or Don Drysdale, but he needs to get meaner.

Had Pelfrey avoided one of those sacrifice flies there never would have been Mike Stanton’s grand slam. Pelfrey isn’t good enough to overcome, at least not on a consistent basis, the mistakes the Mets committed last night.

Not surprisingly, much of the focus is on Daniel Murphy, who, after cutting a ball off from right fielder Lucas Duda, was hesitant to throw to Justin Turner at first to nail Dewayne Wise. Murphy was afraid of the runner on third, but Turner had the play in front of him and an easier throw to the plate.

So, instead of two outs and first base open, Jason Isringhausen was forced to pitch to Stanton. Of course, it is still up to Isringhausen to make the quality pitch to get out of the inning, which he didn’t.

Earlier, there was a poor throw by David Wright that led to a run, and Jose Reyes being easily thrown out at the plate. Maybe the blame goes to Chip Hale for that one.

Overall, the Mets are playing better than expected, but still there are too many times they beat themselves, and last night was one of them.

Duda’s game-tying homer in the ninth inning gave us the gift of hope and exhilaration, of what we’d like things to be, but in the end there again was more maddening than amazing.

 

Jul 26

Reaction to prospect of non-tendering Pagan.

I chuckled this afternoon when I read an account suggesting the Mets could non-tender Angel Pagan this winter after this disappointing season. Pagan has not built on last year’s strong showing, but that hardly means the Mets are looking to dump him. If they were, they’d be shopping him now, but aren’t.

PAGAN: Odds say he'll stay.

Pagan is making $3.5 million this year and arbitration eligible. It isn’t as if he’ll break the Mets’ bank this winter.

The Mets are precariously think in the outfield now, and will only get thinner once Carlos Beltran is traded. Fernando Martinez is hardly proven he’s ready to play full time next year, let alone stay healthy.

Jason Bay has a spot in left because he has a contract that can’t be traded and maybe they’ll give Lucas Duda a chance in right. Who’s going to play center all season? Jason Pridie? Scott Hairston? Hardly.

Pagan has been a disappointment, but showed us something last summer to warrant another chance. Of course, all of this would be a moot point if the Mets signed a free-agent outfielder or traded for B.J. Upton.

It’s not happening. Expect to see Pagan again in 2012.