Jun 26

Mets Matters: Bay Update

The more I think about it, the more aggravated I am about last night. Not so much that they lost, but in Terry Collins bringing up the possibility of a let down because of a late arrival into Chicago. It was a self-fulfilling prophesy. Think it and it might come true.

The bottom line is travel in MLB is blatantly unfair, but it is an issue that must be dealt with by all. Adversity is something a championship caliber team must overcome.

Among the Mets notes:

* Jason Bay has been cleared to work out on a stationary bike. If there are no concussion symptoms he can run and resume baseball activities this weekend in Los Angeles. Once again, the Mets have been getting production elsewhere so there’s no need to rush him back.

* Collins said Johan Santana’s starts won’t be cut short like the Nationals will do with Stephen Strasburg. The Mets will go with a five-man rotation the rest of the way. Santana is on a 115-pitch limit, and at the start of the season Collins said 28 starts would be ideal. He’s on pace for that, and if he can get to 32, it could translate into a good season for the Mets. That is, if he gets bullpen support.

* Although Daniel Murphy has been sitting against lefties, Collins said it isn’t permanent. Actually, that’s up to Justin Turner. If he hits lefties when he plays, he’ll continue to get time. Pretty simple, really. Murphy is homerless in his last 347 at-bats.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf

Ruben Tejada, ss

David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, rf
Ike Davis, 1b
Scott Hairston, lf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Josh Thole, c
Dillon Gee, rhp

Jun 24

Terry Collins Gambles And Loses With Chris Young

It’s an oversimplification to think Chris Young made one mistake last night when he grooved a fastball Raul Ibanez drilled for a game-tying, three-run homer.

YOUNG: Dejected.

His biggest mistake that inning was the leadoff walk to Mark Teixeira. Young was already nearing 100 pitches when the inning began. I was surprised he went out, but understood it followed with Terry Collins’ loyalty to his starters.

I never would have let him pitch to Nick Swisher, was given a gift double when Lucas Duda butchered the sinking fly ball.

Then after Ibanez there was the sense the Mets let it get away.

Yes, Collins went too long with Young. Maybe his decision was based on loyalty, or perhaps it was made because he didn’t have confidence in his bullpen. That could have been a spot for Tim Byrdak, but then again Collins might have been thinking he would save Byrdak for later.

It’s only one game, but it stung because it was right there for the taking. We can dissect the seventh inning a dozen was, but the Mets had opportunities earlier to blow the game open against Ivan Nova.

They had their chances later, too.

What they didn’t have was a shutdown lefty reliever like Boone Logan who toyed with Duda and Daniel Murphy.

The Mets will be buyers at the trade deadline, and bullpen help should be at the top of their list.


ON DECK: Mets Matters

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.